The Garda investigation into a suspected arson attack on a vacant house in Ennis on Saturday is continuing.
Gardaí believe that one vacated house at Dún Na hInse on the Lahinch road was intentionally targeted. However, the fire quickly spread to the adjacent property.
A third home on the three-house terraced was only saved by the quick actions of firefighters who also saved two kittens.
The alarm was raised shortly before 5.30am on Saturday when locals at and residents in a neighbouring estate made multiple calls to the fire service.
Three units of the fire brigade along with a garda patrol rushed to the scene to find one house ‘well alight’ and its roof after collapsing.
The fire had begun to spread into the roof of a second house while a third property was also under serious threat of being engulfed. Firefighters set about tacking the middle house in the line of three as one property was already beyond saving.
The roof of the second house also caved in but fire crews managed to bring the fire under control into time to prevent it from spreading to the third home.
Fire crews used a compressed air foam system (CAFS) to bring the fires under control while personnel also tackled to blaze from above from an aerial platform.
None of the homes were occupied at the time, two of which are understood to have been on the market for sale. It’s believed that the occupants of one house may have been the subject of a recent eviction notice.
Once the fires had been extinguished Gardaí sealed off the scene pending completion of a technical examination. Fire crews also cordoned the side of the house that had sustained the worst damage and had been structurally compromised. Engineers are expected to inspect the building amid concerns that the house may have to be demolished.
Uniformed gardaí and plain clothes officers carried out door-to-door inquiries in the neighbourhood and spoke to several locals who reported a group drinking in a green area before the fire.
One local woman said: “I woke up when I heard a load of popping noises. I came out for a look and saw the first house was on fire and it was spreading to the second one. There was no one living in them but there was a woman looking after the third one.”
Gardaí believe that one house was targeted but the fire got out of control and spread to the second property.
Meanwhile, as firefighters tackled the fire from the rear of the buildings, they discovered a kitten buried in the foam.
The young cat was taken away and washed before being placed in the safety and comfort of a fire truck. Firefighters named the kitten ‘caf the cat’ after it was found in the compressed air foam (CAF).
Later, a second kitten was found in a poor condition but was also washed and cared for by fire personnel who took them back to their station. Two firefighters took a kitten each home to care for them.