The adjoining burnt houses in Lake Glen, Portlaoise
An update has been released on the future of two Laois council houses burnt in a recent fire.
The houses are in the Lake Glen estate in Portlaoise, with a Garda investigation still underway as to the cause of the fire.
It took place last April, beginning in one house which was gutted by the blaze, and spreading to the other. Nobody was injured.
Two families are "displaced" as as result, says Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley, who expects that they now need to be demolished.
"This dreadful fire took place last month, it was lucky that the whole block didn't go up. It displaced two familiies. I'm familiar with how long it takes, these burnt out housese could be left like that for a long time. You can see them from the main road.
"There is a fairly good residents association and these two eyesores in the middle of the estate are absolutely dreadful. I don't need to tell you of the housing waiting list. I'm no engineer but my understanding is the first house will have to be knocked and possibly the second because the roof is absolutely destroyed. Move on it as quickly as possible, with the Garda investigation and the insurance process.
"I'd ask that you do something for people with disabilities, in particular put one bedroom downstairs. These used to be owned by the HSE for patients, one for women, one for men. The HSE moved them out and gave the houses back to the council," Cllr Dwane Stanley said.
She requested to hear the safety report from Laois County Council at the May meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District.
The council state that a preliminary assessment by a structural engineer, found "no immediate structural concerns" on either house.
"More detailed assessments have been carried out and a report is due by May 20. These reports will advise areas of the existing properties that can be retained and other remedial works required to make the properties habitable. Further updates will be provided as matters progress," the council states.
Director of Services, Portlaoise Town Manager Simon Walton added that the Garda investigation is ongoing, with no outcome yet given.
"The detailed report will advise the refurbishment works needed and then we will do tender documents. We are all aware it is unsightly and needs to be attended to," Mr Walton said.
Cllr Noel Tuohy urged that it be done as soon as possible, while Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald gave thanks that no-one was hurt and thanked the fire service for their rapid response.
"This has a psycological effect on an area. I'd like them repaired as soon as possible," she agreed.
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