Firefighters tackling major blaze at Dublin hotel and apartment block building
A major fire has broken out in the upper floors of a hotel and apartment block building in Dublin.
Several floors of the complex in Ballymun near Dublin Airport were engulfed in flames on Wednesday night as at least eight fire crews battled to stop the blaze spreading.
There were no initial reports of any injuries, with witnesses expressing hope that everyone had been evacuated safely.
The Metro Hotel building compromises hotel rooms on the lower floors and residential apartments on the upper floors.
The building is sometimes used to accommodate families in housing need.
Witness Anthony Flynn said he did not believe anyone was still trapped inside the burning building.
"It looks like everybody is out of the hotel," he said. "There are no reported injuries at this stage."
Mr Flynn, a co-founder of the Inner City Helping Homeless organisation, said pieces of debris could be seen flying from the blazing building in scenes similar to the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.
He said he understood no homeless families were currently housed in the building.
He added: "We are looking at the top seven floors that appear to be alight. It seems to be spreading like mad. It's exactly what it looked like at Grenfell. It appears to have started on the top two floors but has spread downwards and upwards."
As well as the large Dublin Fire Brigade presence, gardai and ambulance crews were also on site.
Erica Fleming, whose apartment overlooks the hotel said she could see and hear windows exploding as a result of the heat.
"One of the apartments is completely engulfed.
"There is smoke belllowing up through the floors.
"The windows exploded about 20 minutes ago, obviously from the heat.
"The windows of other apartments are just completely blackened out. You cannot see the corridor or landings.
"I can see the fire crews dragging the hoses through the building. They are still two floors below but they are making their way up slowly."
Ms Fleming, a mother of one and student, also said she believed she could see people being evacuated from a few floors below the seat of the fire.
"There is also a lot of debris falling out the windows."
Dublin city councillor Paul McAuliffe said he believed everyone had been evacuated safely.
"We understand from the hotel staff that all of the people living in the accommodation and residents of the hotel got out safely," he said.
"We believe everyone got out safely.
"Windows and cladding are peeling off the building and falling down onto the side wing where the hotel is.
"Dublin Fire Brigade are doing their best to make sure the fire doesn't spread from the upper levels down onto the broader-based hotel parts of the building."
The Fianna Fail representative added: "Windows are exploding and fire and debris are billowing out the side of the building.
"This is going to leave a major scar on the landscape of Ballymun."