Arson suspected in Portarlington fire

A family home in Port was seriously damaged in a fire last Friday, suspected to have been deliberately started.

A family home in Port was seriously damaged in a fire last Friday, suspected to have been deliberately started.

It is believed that two people broke in to the house in the Clanmalire estate, after the owner left to bring her children to school.

The pair are said to have stolen items from the house, before setting fire to a bundle of clothes at the top of the stairs. The fire quickly spread and extensively damaged the house internally, but it was extinguised just before it spread to the roof, or to the house next door, which was smoke damaged.

The family have been given temporary accomodation in the town.

The Fire Service were called at 11am, and crews from Mountmellick and Portarlington arrived within minutes.

“The house was extensively damaged. The fire was very fierce, it seemed to travel very fast,” said Asst Chief Fire Officer Anthony Tynan.

Gardaí confirmed they are investigating the incident, and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

It was a bad weekend for housefires around Laois, with blazes in Portlaoise and Mountmellick.

A vacant house in Limetree Avenue, Kilminchy, was badly damaged by fire on Saturday evening April 27, with the occupants of the adjoining house having to evacuate.

Firecrews from Stradbally and Portlaoise arrived at 9.45pm, bringing the fire under control, however the adjoining house sustained smoke damage.

“The fire started upstairs. It was quite severe, the crews did a good job to knock it down in half an hour, but the house was badly damaged,” Asst Chief FO Tynan said.

Portlaoise Gardaí also attended and are investigating the incident.

Earlier that evening, another blaze was fought in Mountmellick. This time a fire damaged an apartment and outbuildings attached to a vacant two storey farmhouse on the Tullamore Road. Fire crews from Mountmellick and Portlaoise brought it under control by 9pm.

Asst Chief FO Tynan urged the public to check their smoke alarms, and close internal doors at night.