- 09 Jun 23
The Stardust Fire inquest will continue tomorrow.
An inquest has heard that sparks were seen coming off the roof of the Stardust nightclub during concerts weeks before the fire. One described it like something out of a "disaster movie" according to DublinLive.
The jury at the Dublin District Coroner’s Court in the Pillar Room of the Rotunda Hospital today heard evidence from two witnesses who said they saw sparks coming down from the ceiling during live music concerts in the weeks before the fire that killed 48 people on February 14, 1981.
Patrick O'Driscoll, who was part of an Elvis Presley tribute band, gave evidence that he saw "a shower of sparks" coming from the ceiling at the backstage area. "It was one quick shower. I kept playing, as I thought it was just a power surge," he said.
He described the sparks as "whitish with a yellowish tint" that came out in an arc of three to four feet. "It was just a shower. If you were passing a building site and saw a welder and he was welding, that kind of shower, or maybe watching a disaster movie, something like that," he said.
Suzanne McCluskey, who attended a concert at the Stardust on January 15, 1981, also gave evidence that supported O'Driscoll's claims.
In her original statement made after the Stardust fire, McCluskey said that during the concert she noticed "sparks flash down from the ceiling." She said the interval between flashes was about a minute to two minutes, and she noticed it for about ten minutes in total.
"The flashes I saw were a purple colour, they were not a series of flashes, just an odd purple flash," she said.
Brenda Campbell, representing nine of the families of the deceased, said that an inspection of the Stardust was carried out that night and the inspector felt that the maximum number of 1,400 people permitted under the licence had been exceeded. She asked the witness if this was consistent with her memory, and McCluskey replied that it was.
Edward Woods, a radio telephone operator with Dublin Corporation, said that on August 29, 1980, he was approached by a man he knew, Willie Basset. Woods said that Basset told him that he had seen an emergency door locked and chained in the Stardust. He added that he passed this report on to the relevant person in his department.
"I never carried out an inspection, I just passed it on to the necessary people. I never saw any chained doors," Wood said as he gave evidence.
The Stardust, which was located in Artane, Dublin, had over 800 attendees the night of the blaze. The inquest will continue tomorrow.
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