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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
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Failed breathing apparatus forced firefighter out of apartment block blaze

The equipment has come under scrutiny before now following previous failures.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A DUBLIN FIREFIGHTER was forced to run out of an apartment block which was on fire on Sunday morning after his breathing apparatus set failed and he ran out of air.

TheJournal.ie has learned that the breathing apparatus sets of two of the Dublin Fire Brigade members attending the incident at the building on Thomas Court in the early hours of Sunday malfunctioned, cutting off their air supplies. Five units of the Dublin Fire Brigade were sent to the blaze, rescuing three adults and five children.

A spokesperson for the fire brigade hailed it as a “good save” at the time but sources have now revealed that one of the firefighters had such trouble with his equipment that he had to run out of the building from the second floor as he was “not able to get in any air from his air cylinder”.

These breathing apparatus sets have been the subject of controversy before with representative group IFESA claiming in 2012 – a year after they were introduced – that they were faulty and had failed a number of times.

One source with knowledge on the subject said they believe this is “endangering both firefighters and the public”.

‘Like going into a fire without water’

Another source told TheJournal.ie that most of the issues with the sets “seem to have been ironed out but there are still intermittent problems”.

“They’re still not up to standard and they still don’t do what they’re supposed to,” they said.

“The set would not be suitable for a working fire brigade,” the source said, as they are in constant use, stored on moving trucks and they are” not robust enough” for this.

It’s total madness, it’s like going into a fire without water. The two things you need going into a fire is enough fresh air and whatever suppressant you’re using. Once you’re in there, whether it be an apartment block or a warehouse, if you haven’t got air and you have to pull the mask off, you’re dealing with hot fumes and gases – you’d be destroyed for life, that’s it.

A spokesperson for Dublin Fire Brigade said the matter is currently being investigated and declined to comment further.

Read: Three adults and five children rescued from fire at Thomas Court in Dublin>

Read: Firefighters raise concerns after breathing equipment ‘collapses’>

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