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Dozens trapped in apartment block after arson attack, court hears

first_imgDozens of people were trapped in an apartment block in Letterkenny after two men set an underground car-park on fire, a court has heard.The pair set fire to two cars at the car park at Rosemount in Letterkenny before it spread to buildings causing €500,000 of damage. One of the men appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he was charged with arson and reckless endangerment.Paul McGinley, of Glen Hola, Gortahork, pleaded guilty to the charges while the court was told that his co-accused had since passed away.Garda Brendan McCann told the court that on the evening of September 29th, 2016, McGinley and the other man, Owen McFadden, of Cavanconnor, Falcarragh, tried to steal a car from the car park of the building just before 1.30am.It had no petrol so they stole some from a nearby shed but then poured the petrol on one of the cars which quickly spread to a total of nine vehicles.Paul McGinley of Gortahork who is charged in connection with a massive fire in Letterkenny. Pic by Northwest Newspix.The fire then spread upwards to other buildings sending panic amongst residents.A total of 17 apartments were filled with smoke as 30 residents including ten children tried to flee.Some of the residents became trapped o the upper floors of the apartment block and had to be rescued by the fire service.Luckily there were no serious injuries but some did suffer smoke inhalation.Two well-known local businesses, Watson’s Menswear and O’Hehir’s Bakery were badly damaged as a result of the fire and had to close for some time afterwards.The residents were evacuated to nearby Dillon’s Hotel where they were looked after by staff.However, for several weeks afterwards some of the residents had to be rehoused by the council while others stayed in the hotel.Although both businesses were covered by insurance, many of the residents were at a loss for personal items and did not have adequate insurance.McGinley, aged 32, and McFadden were arrested after Gardai studied CCTV footage in and around the building and both admitted starting the blaze.An Garda Siochana including forensic officers and Insp Goretti Sheridan, who is leading the investigation, at the scene where 9 cars were destroyed in Letterkenny. (North West Newspix)The barrister for the accused, Richard Lyons said his client has a history of mental illness and had been admitted to psychiatric services on ten occasions.He said something sparked his history of mental health problems when he was just 17 but that he has never spoken about it.He has six previous convictions ranging from public order, to burglary to drugs offences.Mr Lyons said “He is not a well man and that can be seen. He is wholly irrational and he endangered lives.”Having heard the plea, Judge John Aylmer adjourned sentencing until next week.Dozens trapped in apartment block after arson attack, court hears was last modified: April 29th, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:arsoncourtdonegalGardailetterkennyPaul McGinleylast_img

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