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Response to coach inferno in filling station praised

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LUCKY ESCAPE The coach is pictured on fire at Tip Top Service station on the Castlebar Road in Westport last Wednesday.

Neill O'Neill

THE swift response of the emergency services in dealing with a sudden coach fire at a filling station forecourt outside Westport last week has been praised. Several units of the fire brigade and members of An Garda Síochana, as well as outdoor staff from Mayo County Council, rushed to the scene of the blaze at the Texaco (Tip Top) filling station at Sheeaune around 3pm last Wednesday, where an empty tour bus turned into an inferno just yards from fuel pumps.
Nobody was hurt in the incident which took place onboard the stationary bus after the driver had pulled into Tip Top. The bus was stopped between the canopy over the fuel pumps and the car wash area when the fire started. There was nothing suspicious about the incident Gardaí have confirmed.  
The driver was off the coach, a tour bus reportedly from the Munster region, with his passengers having earlier disembarked in Westport Town, at the time when the fire took hold.
The main Castlebar Road out of Westport was closed for several hours, as plumes of acrid black smoke billowed from the bus, reducing visibility to zero. The level and density of the smoke, which could be seen right across Westport, led many to fear that something very serious was happening, and it was several hours before the fire brigade had completely extinguished the blaze.
Cathaoirleach of the West Mayo Municipal District, Cllr Brendan Mulroy, praised the rapid response of the fire brigade and emergency services, which he said may well have prevented the incident escalating or further damage to property, which could have led to the loss of jobs, or even lives.
“This was a serious fire at a filling station, it was a dangerous situation which was, thankfully, dealt with very swiftly and professionally by our local emergency services. I want to thank them for their work on this and in every incident they attend to. As members of the community we hope we will never need to call on them, but it is some comfort to know they are there, and are so well trained and professional, if we ever have to make that call.”