Friday 24 February 2017

Farmers save homes with slurry tankers

Anita Guidera

A MAN told yesterday how local farmers with slurry tankers saved homes from being destroyed by fire.

Residents in the small town of Ardara in south-west Donegal wept in gratitude as they told how locals rallied round twice to save their homes from becoming enveloped in flames from wild fires.

Stephen McCahill returned to his home on the Narin Road on Sunday night to find that the fire, which had been 2km away when he left 10 minutes earlier, was surrounding his home.

But for the quick action of local farmers, who doused the surrounding area with water, the flames would have engulfed their homes.

"You would think they arrived from heaven. They showed up out of the smoke with their tankers filled with water. My house was certainly a goner only for them," he said.

"It is a frightening thing when you are standing in your house filled with a lifetime of memories and you have just seconds to decide what to take.

"I don't know what I was thinking because all I grabbed was a bag of socks."

Hundreds of local people joined neighbours beating back flames with shovels, coats and buckets of water.

"There was dense smoke everywhere and everyone was panicking. Then there was a massive explosion and flames shot 30ft into the air," said the father of two.

An emotional Mr McCahill likened the fire to an unstoppable flood.

"It was travelling at around 30kmh. Once it was directed away from one spot it immediately ran in the other direction," he said.

"The gutters of one house burned. A few diesel tanks burned. It was that close."

The fire service was tackling a major fire in Dungloe, 40km away.

"They were flat out and when they did come they were unbelievable but there is no doubt that it was the farmers and the locals, who risked their own lives, saved our homes," he added.

Yesterday afternoon the farmers were on the scene again as the fires reignited.

Irish Independent

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