Update: At 9:30 Cork City Fire Brigade said that firefighters are still trying to bring the fire at the site of the former Sunset Ridge hotel under control, and that their focus is on “stopping the fire spreading.”
Yet another blaze at a perennial anti-social behaviour hotspot in the northern end of Cork city became a focus for emergency service personnel as they battled to contain a number of fires on Bonfire Night.
Throughout the city, smoke plumes blotted the evening air and pockmarked the terrain as a Cork tradition equally revered and reviled took hold.
So-called “bonnas” or fires took place all over the city, with a number getting out of hand and requiring the intervention of fire services including those based at Anglesea St and Ballyvolane.
Firefighting operations are continuing at the Sunset Ridge Hotel.
Several of our units, supported by @corkcountyfire units are in attendance.
— Cork City Fire Brigade (@CorkCityFire) June 23, 2022
However, it was the sight of the former Sunset Ridge Hotel in Killeens, adjacent to the city’s northside, ablaze that sank the hearts of fire personnel and residents alike.
There has been a number of fire-related incidents at the site over the years, including a significant fire in June last year, also on Bonfire Night. The former hotel was put on the Derelict Sites Register last October.
Cork City councillor Damien Boylan said: “I feel for the people of Killeens. I’m moving it as quickly as I can along with the developers and Cork City Council.
After the last fire, we got it sorted out with a derelict sites order put on it.
“The bottom line is that there is planning permission in for it, and it will be developed over the next year or two, which will hopefully put an end to such behaviour, which you cannot legislate for, unfortunately.”
Councillor Ken O’ Flynn called the fire “mindless and avoidable,” and said that the incident has tied up valueable firefighting resources on what is already an extremely busy night.
Earlier in the evening, Cork City Fire Brigade said crews from Anglesea St and Ballyvolane dealt with a house fire on Ringmahon Rd and brought it under control.
Environmentalists lamented the smoke filling the air around the city on Bonfire Night, especially around The Glen River Park, which is home to a variety of flora and fauna, and is one of Cork’s most picturesque family escapes on a bright day.
Campaigners have long said antisocial behaviour blighting the park and stripping it of its natural beauty is a black mark on one of the jewels in Cork’s northside.