Thursday 23 October 2014

Elderly woman in critical condition following explosion

Published 16/01/2014 | 10:19

A Garda stands outside 90 O'Rahilly house in Ringsend where a woman was injured in a gas explosion last night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Evening Herald  16/1/2014
A Garda stands outside 90 O'Rahilly house in Ringsend where a woman was injured in a gas explosion last night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Herald 16/1/2014
Flowerpots and glass which were forced out the back window of 90 O'Rahilly house in Ringsend where a woman was injured in a gas explosion last night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Evening Herald  16/1/2014
Flowerpots and glass which were forced out the back window of 90 O'Rahilly house in Ringsend where a woman was injured in a gas explosion last night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Herald 16/1/2014
The damaged back window of 90 O'Rahilly house in Ringsend where a woman was injured in a gas explosion last night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Evening Herald  16/1/2014
The damaged back window of 90 O'Rahilly house in Ringsend where a woman was injured in a gas explosion last night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Evening Herald 16/1/2014

Bridget Berry, known affectionately as 'Bridie', is in a critical condition in hospital today after an apparent gas explosion at her Dublin home.

Bridget Berry (92) suffered second and third degree burns after an explosion in her kitchen at the O'Rahilly House flats at 10.15pm last night.

The devout mass-goer was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital but may be transferred to St James's hospital's burns unit.

Neighbours today told Independent.ie of the shock off the explosion which rocked the flats complex.

"I was sitting in the living room and the next thing I heard was an unmerciful bang that shook the place," said neighbour Angie Mullen.

"I ran out with my husband because we didn't know what had happened, and then we could hear Bridget calling for help," she added.

"We have keys to her home so we got in as quick as we could and poor Bridget was on fire in the kitchen," Angie explained with sadness.

"The poor pet, her biscuits were broken on the floor. It looked like she had gone to make a cup of tea and her cooker might have been on and it went up when she lit the gas," she added.

"My husband put out the flames on her burning dressing gown, but Bridget was burned on her legs and face and hands," she added.

Bridget has lived at O'Rahilly House for around 35 years, and now lives alone following the death of her husband many years ago.

While she has no children herself she is very independent according to neighbours, and has more distant relatives that keep in touch with her.

A grand-nephew, Tom Fields, told Independent.ie that plastic surgeons were due to meet today to decide on how best to treat Bridget's injuries.

"The people in Ringsend have been great and we don't know what happened exactly, but Bridget in in the ICU unit in Vincent's at the moment and we might get more word later," he said.

"She was badly burned," he added.

Neighbours said Bridget is a daily attendant at mass in St Patrick's Church in Ringsend, and sings in the choir.

"She makes it to that church every day, even in the bad snow a few years ago it didn't stop her," said Angie.

"And she gets dialysis three times a week as well. She is a remarkable woman," she added.

Gardai sealed off Bridget's ground floor flat but initial indications are that the explosion was the result of an accident involving her cooker rather than a mains leak.

Another neighbour said the sound of the explosion was "like a missile".

"There was a whistle and a bang, followed by the sound of glass smashing. It was awful," he said.

The bedroom window of the flat was blown out with the force of the blast, scattering glass all over the rear yard of the flat.

Conor Feehan

Irish Independent

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