Bedside vigil for injured parents and baby after blaze engulfs home
THE families of a couple and a baby, who are fighting for their lives after they were trapped in a house fire, are keeping a bedside vigil.
The young parents, named locally as Colm Largey and Christina Duffy and their daughter, 14-week-old Holly, were rushed to hospital following the blaze in Jamaica Street in north Belfast on Thursday night.
A spokeswoman from The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said the pair in their 20s and the infant remain in a critical condition.
It has emerged there was no working smoke alarm in the rented property, which the couple had only recently moved in to.
Fire Service station commander William Johnston said: "We could have been looking at a worse situation but I cannot over-emphasise the need for people to have a working smoke detector."
Neighbours smashed through the front door and windows using their bare hands in a bid to rescue the family.
Neighbour Paul Savage said: "We couldn't get up the stairs or see an inch in front of us, but the emergency services were here in minutes."
"The wee baby was carried out wrapped in a blanket." he added.
Up to 20 firefighters and four appliances tackled the blaze.
Mr Savage said: "I was holding Christina's hand in the ambulance as she was unconscious."
The immediate family of the couple and infant are keeping a constant vigil at their hospital bedsides.
Grainne Smyth whose husband is a cousin of the family and lives nearby, said: "We are devastated, we can just pray and hope they'll be okay."
It is not yet clear what started the blaze and fire services said it could take some time to find the cause.
One neighbour who made his way into the smoke-filled living room to try and help said it looked like the fire started at the settee.
Thomas Clarke also said another rescuer was hurt when trying to get to the family at the back of the house.
"The young guy fell through the roof of a sunroom after climbing up to break a window. I went in to try and get him but he managed to climb back out himself."
His injuries are not believed to be serious. It is thought a taxi driver dropping people off in the area was the first to alert emergency services