Dublin Fire Brigade says it is likely to take a month before the cause of the fire at an apartment block in Ballymun can be established.

Dublin's Chief Fire Officer Patrick Fleming said there is nothing to indicate the cause of the fire is suspicious and that it will be several months before the building can be returned to use.

He said the blaze in a private residence above the Metro Hotel in Ballymun, which was reported just after 8pm last night, was one of the biggest fires it has dealt with in high-rise buildings in recent times.

He said this was "not a Grenfell Tower type incident" because there was no issue with the external cladding and the fire spread internally.

But it should be a reminder to apartment-dwellers, especially those in high-rise buildings, of the importance of having a fire evacuation plan.

Pic: Antoinette Reilly

Mr Fleming said the 13th floor, where the fire started, and the 10th floor, where it spread, are gutted. He said he is not sure how it spread but that falling debris may have been a factor.

A number of other floors have suffered water and smoke damage.

Mr Fleming said 60 fire officers, eight pumps and two aerial units attended the blaze and were supported by another unit from Dublin Airport.

Gardaí will lead the investigation into the cause of the blaze, but Mr Fleming said that, given the level of damage to the building, it is likely to be a month before the cause can be established.

It is understood members of Dublin Fire Brigade went through the building, floor by floor, to ensure it was fully evacuated.

The manager of the Metro Hotel said all of its 150-plus guests who were staying in the hotel at the time are accounted for and were relocated to the nearby Carlton Hotel for the night.

A spokesman for the hotel said it is trying to find alternative accommodation for the estimated 50 residents and 150 guests who were there last night.

He said the company saw it as its responsibility to locate long-term accommodation for the residents of the 30 apartments in the building and it is working to ensure they have somewhere to stay tonight and beyond.

The hotel employs 40 people and some of those have been assisting in the search for alternative accommodation for residents and tourists, he added.

Peter McVerry Trust confirmed that no families are currently placed in the hotel by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and neither were there any homeless families staying there who had booked their own accommodation.

The Ballymun Road inbound reopened to traffic this morning, however there is no access to Santry Avenue as it remains closed.

The bus lane on the road at the Metro Hotel remains coned off for safety reasons.


In pictures: Dublin Metro Hotel fire


Call for more resources in wake of Ballymun fire

Unions representing members of Dublin Fire Brigade have called for additional resources in the wake of the Ballymun fire.

DFB SIPTU Section Chair Deirdre Taylor said more, and new, aerial appliances with longer ladders are needed as the current vehicles are secondhand that have been taken out of service in the UK.

She said they only have ladders that extend to 30m, when newer models extend to more than 40m.

Ms Taylor also said that National Policy currently states that just nine firefighters would have been required at the scene in Ballymun last night.

She said more than 60 actually attended and the presence of so many firefighters and vehicles in Ballymun left the rest of the city with very little resources if another incident had occurred elsewhere.

She said firefighters believe that they have been lucky in this incident but that lessons can be learned from it.

They are calling for a meeting with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to discuss updating national policy, carrying out risk assessments of buildings and the need for more resources.

Meanwhile, two Labour Councillors are to table a motion to Dublin City Council to allocate €3m a year for the next five years to carry out a comprehensive fire risk assessment across the capital.

Calls for Minister to visit families homeless after fire

There have been calls for Dublin City Council and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to visit the families who lost their home in last night's fire.

Independent Councillor for Ballymun, Noleen Reilly, said the residents of the approximately 30 apartments that were destroyed in the blaze need to have a stable environment after the shock they have been through.

She said there could have been very different outcomes if it was not for the rapid response of the emergency services who, she said, arrived at the scene within minutes.

Ms Reilly said it was a miracle that the building was evacuated of residents and hotel guests so quickly.

Anita Dokdere and Adeel Bashir, who lived in the building with their two young children, said they believe the fire broke out in the room next door to them.

The couple said they were devastated by the loss of all of their possessions and the fact that they are now homeless as a result of the blaze.

They said they are relieved that nobody was injured as there were several families living in the apartments at the time.

The couple also said that they had heard the fire alarm going off for several hours in the adjoining apartment just two weeks ago.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he sympathised with the people who were affected by the fire in the Metro Hotel.

Speaking as he arrived at an EU leaders' summit in Brussels, Mr Varadkar said that, from what he had been told, the evacuation protocals had worked and fire containment measures had ensured the fire did not spread.

Mr Varadkar said it was "nothing like the Grenfell Tower".