New Skibbereen Fire
Station Becomes Operational
The biggest fire in the history of this brigade and indeed of the town, occurred on Sunday 09/04/06 when the Church Restaurant which occupied the former Methodist Church at Bridge Street was set ablaze, alledgedly maliciously by a non national. The speed at which the fire took hold and escalated was due to the fact that there were eight large propane cylinders at the rear of the church, all the valves of which it is alledged the arsonist opened and set alight. These were immediatly below three large leaded stained glass windows which collapsed almost instantaneously and allowed the fire to penetrate to the interior of the building.
The Brigade were alerted at 19.00 exactly and the author was passing the Church at 19.02 and already at that stage the roof of the building had collapsed. The Brigade were in attendance at 19.06 and had already made pumps two with the unit from Schull. This was soon increased to pumps three when it became apparent that the fire was going to spread to the adjoining premises of the Masonic Hall and Kennellys Hardware Store. The Masonic Hall housed the Masonic Lodge, The Social Welfare Offices and Thornhill Bros Electrical warehouse where there was a hugh stock of white goods ie. Washing Machines, Dish Washers, Dryers and also a large stock of Televisions and other electrical goods.
The fire was brought under control in a relatively short time but not before considerable damage was caused to the Masonic Hall. The Church itself was completely destroyed with only the four main walls remaining intact.The Brigades managed to recover many of the historical artifacts from the Masonic Lodge and also assisted in removing all of the electrical goods from Thornhill Bros premises.
The alledged perpetrator of the fire is due to be tried in October and is presently in custody charged with criminal damage. Great credit is due to the fire crews from all units who worked in extremly hot and dangerous conditions. 18/07/2006
Photograph of the new station can be seen on Gallery 3.
September 11th 2002
A tree planting to honour those who died in the New York atrocity of September 11th 2001, was carried out at the Brigades new station at Marsh Road at the exact time and anniversary of the tragedy. A twenty foot Oak tree was planted on the site as a living memorial to those that died and as a symbol to show that the Emergency Services live on in the United States, here and throughout the world and that the services will continue to answer the call and put their lives at risk in the service of their communities. The tree planting was carried out on behalf of the Brigade by Mr. Gerard Malone CFO Cork County Fire Service. Representatives of all the emergency services were present including Garda, Civil Defence and the Southern Health Board Ambulance Service as well as a representative from each of the West Cork Brigades.
UPDATE On 03/09/2005 a black granite plaque with the outline of the Manhattan skyline including the twin towers at the top, was unveiled beside the Memorial Tree. The Memorial Plaque reads: This oak tree is a living memorial to our colleagues in the Emergency Services of the United States of America who died in the performance of their duty in the World Trade Centre atrocity of Sept. 11th 2001 and all the deceased members of the Emergency Services of West Cork.It is also a symbol of the ongoing commitment of Emergency Services worldwide to the safety of their communities in the face of personal danger.Planted by Mr. Gerard Malone,Cheif Fire Officer of Cork County on behalf of Skibbereen Fire Brigade and all the Emergency Services of West Cork.
It was unveiled on the day of our now annual Emergency Services Charity Cycle event. Over 100 cyclists took part in the cycle which was over 55 miles from Skibbereen to Bantry, on to Schull and back to Skibbereen Fire Station.Refreshments were provided at Bantry and Schull Stations and a barbeque awaited the tired participants on their return to Skibbereen Fire Station. It is expected that the event will raise about 25,000 Euro which this year will go towards diagnostic equipment at Bantry General Hospital.
On a very sad note, John O' Mahony an EMT with the Health Services and a much loved colleague of all in the emergency services was killed in an Ambulance collision a few weeks after the cycle.May he Rest in Peace in the arms of the Lord
15/07/2006 The third annual Emergency Services 50 mile cycle for Charity was held today in brilliant weather conditions. The Cycle this year was dedicated to the memory of our much missed friend and colleague the late John O' Mahony EMT.
Over two hundred cyclists too part in this years event which is to benefit the Cope Foundation and the Alzeimers unit of Clonakilty Hospital. At present it looks as though the figure raised will be between forty and fifty thousand euro.
The author is proud to say that one of the crew of Skibbereen Fire Brigade deserves the greatest praise for the huge amount of work he put in to the event. All the other services contributed to the event greatly but I am sure that nobody would dispute the fact that our Garry Minihane was the leading light in the entire event from start to finish.A great day was had by all culminating in a barbeque at Skibbereen Fire Station at which about four hundred attended.
The evening finished in Baby Hannahs Bar in Bridge street at which we were wonderfully entertained by Tony Boadle, Chris Sayer and Ron Carty who gave their services free of charge to the event organisers.
It is now confirmed that over €58,000 was raised in the cycle this year and this has been donated to the Cope Foundation and to Clonakilty Hospital in equal shares. There was also a very pleasant ceremony at Clonakilty Hospital in September when a garden of rememberance was opened by Eleanor O'Mahony, John's widow. This was preceded by a memorial mass held in the hospital church. All of the Emergency Services were represented there and the Aide de Camp of the President of Ireland was also in attendance.The overcrowded church and attendance at the opening ceremony was yet again another indication of how many peoples lives John had touched in his inimitable way and also the happiness he had brought into peoples lives was there on the faces of these people as they reminiced on times together with him. May he rest in peace in Gods company forever.