Dublin City Council has applied to the High Court to have an unknown number of people, including a mother and her four children aged under six, evacuated from flats in a building in the north inner city due to "serious" fire safety concerns.

President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns granted an application by the Council to serve short notice of the proceedings on Frank Chatham and Joseph Simpson, the owners of the property located at 3 Kelly's Row, Dublin 1, and including 20 Dorset Street. 

The premises is a four storey building accessed via Kelly's Row with a retail outlet on the ground floor of 20 Dorset Street which is not affected by the Council's application.

There is no physical connection between that unit and the flats above it.

The judge said the matter was urgent and will be heard again tomorrow.

Fire brigade officers have dealt with three incidents at the building since October 2014.

Thomas Daly of Dublin Fire Brigade's fire prevention section said a fire safety notice took effect last March prohibiting use of the premises for residential/sleeping accommodation in multi-units such as flats until specified measures have been taken to the satisfaction of the fire authority.

The electricity was disconnected earlier this month and the only access to and escape from the flats is via s single staircase which itself is in "an unsafe condition", he added in an affidavit.

Mr Daly said when he inspected the building on 11 May there was "no evidence of any fire safety measures at the building".

He considered the risk to persons in the event of a fire was "so serious" that use of the building should be immediately prohibited until measures outlined in the fire safety notice were taken "to reduce the risk to a reasonable level".

Mr Daly said that the owners of the property - Mr Chatham of Arch Villas, Greystones, Co Wicklow and Mr Simpson of Tara Green, Ballymoney, Co Wexford - were served with a fire safety notice on 27 March.

Mr Simpson had written on 1 May that the tenants were in the process of being moved from the premises, he said.

Mr Simpson also alleged 95% of the items in the fire safety notice had been covered in renovations of 2007.

He said outstanding issues were being rectified and the fire brigade would be kept up to date.

Mr Daly said when he inspected the building on 11 May, at the request of the fire brigade who were called to an incident there, he found four flats occupied and all flats "in use".

One of the occupants was a Romanian woman who said she had four children under six with her.

Another occupant who said she lived there with her son and two other adult occupants would not give their full names.

He found four flats in occupation and the building in "a more unsafe state" than previously, due to partition walls damaged with large holes. 

Those would facilitate a more rapid spread of any fire, he said.  

The fire brigade officer in charge requested the electricity be disconnected and the ESB did that, Mr Daly said. 

When some occupants said they would have to use candles for light, he advised them that was dangerous, he added.  

Mr Simpson had told him on 12 May he could not get the tenants to leave the building, Mr Daly said.

Earlier, he said Dublin Fire Bridage reported, after they were called to the building last March when a small fire occurred in a first floor room which was extinguished by the residents, that families refused to leave the building.

Mr Daly said he inspected the building in March but could not gain access to a number of flats. 

A view was taken the building was potentially dangerous and copies of a warning letter were posted to the owner of the building at the Kelly's Row address, to Frank "Chapman", Arch Villas, Greystones and hand delivered to the owner's agent. 

No response was received.

A Fire Safety Notice prohibiting use of the flats issued on 4 March and was posted to Mr "Chapman", Arch Villas, Greystones, and the Kelly's Row address.  

No appeal was lodged and the notice took effect on 20 March. 

A letter was also sent to a children in care social worker on 9 March warning the building was considered potentially dangerous and a fire safety notice had been served. 

Mr Daly said he believed no response was received.