Children living in Dublin apartment block afraid to go to sleep as gangs cause fire ‘hell’
Residents did not leave their flats when there was a fire because they are so used to the alarm being set off by a gang of youths
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The residents of a North Dublin apartment block say that they are living in “hell” as gangs continue a reign of terror.
Constant vandalism has left the Finglas residents anxious and afraid with many children fearing a massive apartment block fire.
The fire alarm is constantly going off due to the vandalism, something that families in Hampton Wood have had to learn to ignore.
This meant that residents stayed in the building while there was a fire in the carpark on Tuesday night.
Last night, the fire alarm went off yet again.
One angry father told Dublin Live he fears the fatal consequences that these false alarms might cause.
He said: “Nobody left their apartments last night.
“I left my apartment because the night before we actually had a fire in the carpark.
“That night, nobody left the apartment because they thought it was only vandalism again.
“But this time it was like the boy that called wolf – there actually was a fire.
“Lucky enough, it didn’t cause much damage. It didn’t get as bad as it could have been.
“It could have been fatal. A lot of the rubbish is underneath people’s windows in the carpark. So if somebody lights it, it’s just so dangerous.
“My friend lives on the ground floor. If the fire starts underneath his window, there is a good chance that his house would go up in flames.”
The horrified resident’s young daughter does not feel safe in her own bed after the fire scare.
The constant anxiety means the four-year-old is exhausted in school due to lack of sleep.
He said: “I’m living there since the place opened. I was one of the first residents there. There were a few problems with the fire alarms then but it’s gone downhill bigtime.
“We have no security. My daughter is four years of age and every night she asks if the alarm is going to go off.
“She doesn’t want to go asleep.
“Last night, it went off again at about 10:30pm and it was vandalism, it wasn’t a fault. It was actually vandalism because it was set off on one of the main red fireboxes.
“A lot of people are anxious going to sleep. I’ve spoken to 20 other residents and everyone is saying the same thing about their children.
“Children are afraid going to sleep. My daughter hears a car alarm and the first thing she thinks is that there is a fire in the apartment.
“It’s affecting her. Even this morning we were going to school and said she was really tired.”
The resident worries that people would be trapped if a large fire broke out.
He said: “On New Year’s morning the alarm went off. It was going on and off until 3:30am.
“Even Dublin Fire Brigade come out all the time and they’re sick of it.
“I was in work and my partner called me and then there was a fire. I had to leave work and come home.
“Lucky enough, it was only a small fire and it was caught in time.
“If a car catches fire it will turn into a furnace. We will have nowhere to live. We will end up homeless.
“I think we need 24 hour security or they need to send some residents that are interested on a fire course to know what’s false and what’s not.
“What happens when there is a big fire and nobody leaves? How many people are going to be trapped?
“How many people are going to be trapped, injured or fatally injured?
“It’s worrying. It sends your anxiety through the roof. My own partner, she feels like she is living in hell.”
The gang of youths are allegedly not from the area and involve children as young as 10.
The resident said: “It’s youths. They are children from the age of 10.”
The stressed out father is under extreme pressure to protect his family in any way he can.
He said: “As the man of the house you are trying to tell them all it’s going to be okay.
“My daughter is asking me if I can fix it but I can’t fix it. I don’t know how to fix it.
“You feel worthless.”
Fianna Fáíl TD, Paul McAuliffe visited the car park after a sofa was set alight by gangs.
He told Dublin Live that he is meeting with Tuath Housing and Gardai to find a solution as quickly as possible.
He said: “They have had intermittent problems with the fire system. This is mostly caused by malicious damage from some younger people that seem to be targeting the car park for anti-social behaviour.
“The residents are at pains as the young people don’t live in the block.
“Whether they are bored or they’re being malicious, they’re damaging the fire system.
“They had been telling their kids the last couple of months that it was only a fire alarm and that they weren’t in danger.
“Then [during the real fire] they were trying to get them out as quickly as possible.”
The North Dublin TD said that many residents fear an apartment block fire breaking out like the recent one in New York that killed 17 people.
He said: “They are worried that what was a small fire could have actually been very serious.
“One person cited what had happened in New York and in their heads that was resonating.
“We need a multi-agency response. It related to fire and how people can be in danger.”
Dublin Live contacted Tuath Housing, An Garda Síochána and Dublin Fire Brigade for comment.