Man whose home was damaged by chimney fire in neighbour’s house is awarded €23,000 damages

Four Courts, Dublin

15 June 2015

David Campbell told the court that when his neighbour Una Ni Bheirn in the summer of 2012 installed a wood burner stove against the shared dividing wall, he could not touch it because it was so hot.

Campbell, of Rathmines Park, today said he had also noticed toxic fumes coming into his house.

He told his barrister Kevin Callan that he notified Ms Ni Bheirn of the issue and after checking his wall, she had allegedly been satisfied that the heat generated had been excessive.

The court heard that Campbell smelled and saw smoke coming out from underneath the carpet in his landing in October that year. He had called the Fire Brigade who found that a fire had started to spread from Ms Ni Bheirn’s chimney.

Campbell, who sued his neighbour for damages, claimed that a flexible flue liner in Ms Ni Bheirn’s 112-year- old house had not been centred when the stove was installed and had touched timber joist inside the chimney wall, causing the fire.

Mr Callan told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the costs of repair and cleaning in Mr Campbell’s house amounted to around €23,000.

Ms Ni Bheirn, who denied liability, had argued the fire had been accidental and unforeseeable as the presence of wood in her chimney was unusual and extraordinary.

She denied that when she inspected Mr Campbell’s house before the fire the adjoining wall had been excessively hot.

The judge said that although Ms Ni Bheirn was entirely blameless and it was most regretful that she should found herself in this situation, he was satisfied the flue liner in her chimney should have been centred. He awarded Mr Campbell €23,084 damages. 

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