Well-known family members of a popular café owner in Abbeleix were evacuated from a house above the café early on Monday morning after a fire broke out in the kitchen below.
Laois Fire and Rescue Service was called to the scene of a fire at Main Street, Abbeyleix at 5:35 am this morning.
Abbeyleix and Durrow fire units attended the scene at Quinn's Tea and Coffee Rooms.
A senior fire officer told the Leinster Express that no one was injured in the fire which was mainly focused in the kitchen area of the café. The fire did not spread to other buildings and residents living above the premises were evacuated safely.
The fire was brought under control around 9:00 am.
Marie Quinn owns the café and went into work early in the morning to bake the fresh bread as usual. Her brother Robbie Quinn told the Leinster Express it was her actions that helped to contain the fire.
“Marie comes in every morning to bake the fresh bread and she turned her back for a minute and next thing it was gone up in smoke but she did her best to contain the fire and the fire service said that her actions really helped to prevent it from spreading.
“Thanks to everybody for the support, the fire service who were quick on the scene and all the neighbours and businesses for their support it is much appreciated.
“My elderly mother lives here [above the café] and she is in shock but she is okay, the main thing is that nobody was hurt.
“The café will be closed for the foreseeable future but will be back open as soon as possible,” he said.
Cllr John Joe Fennelly said Quinn's has a 'long tradition' of business in Abbeyleix.
"It is terrible sad news, the kitchen was gutted. I would like to wish them well, I'm glad to hear that no one was injured.
"It has a great name and there were people from outside of the town online this morning leaving comments and wishing them the best because it is well-known as a place where people stop off. Quinn's have a long tradition of business in Abbeyleix, they had a grocery shop when I was growing up, wishing them all the best," he said.
Marie Quinn shared an update on the business's Facebook page saying it was 'heartbreaking' to see her business disappear before her eyes.
"Customer Notice: With deep sadness, I wish to advise my loyal and regular customers that Quinn's Tea Rooms will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to extensive smoke and water damage following a fire earlier this morning.
"I would like to thank the emergency services for dealing with such a devastating situation so well. A special thanks to both Abbeyleix and Durrow Fire crews for going over and above their call of duty and putting their lives at risk to contain the fire from doing more widespread damage.
"To see a business you have worked so hard to establish and grow for over 36 years literally disappear in front of your eyes is heartbreaking. My sole focus from now is towards my dedicated staff and rebuilding my business as soon as possible.
"Finally our family would like to extend their deep gratitude to our neighbours, fellow businesses, colleagues and friends who have contacted us to offer support, too many to contact individually. Marie x"