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Sunday 22 October 2017

Fireman breaks wrists leaping from house blaze

Gardaí at the scene of a fire in Athy. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Gardaí at the scene of a fire in Athy. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Alan O'Keeffe

A fireman broke his wrists after he was forced to jump from an upstairs window of a house where he was fighting a blaze.

Fire crews entered the burning house in Athy, Co Kildare, yesterday and succeeded in bringing the blaze on the ground floor under control.

But a second fire suddenly flared in an upstairs room, which resulted in one of the firefighters being forced to escape the blaze by jumping from an upstairs window.

He was treated at Naas General Hospital for fractures of both wrists.

The fire happened at the Canal Walk council estate around 10.30am in the home of a family of six. The father and four children were not in the house when the alarm was raised.

The mother escaped out the front door of the burning house. The family later expressed relief there was no loss of life.

Neighbours Jacqueline Moriarty and Carl Delaney. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Neighbours Jacqueline Moriarty and Carl Delaney. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Grandmother Jennifer McVeigh said: "My daughter and her husband and their four children are all OK. I'm devastated by what happened. My daughter is in a terrible state and deeply shocked.

"I'm just grateful that they are all alive and that's all that matters."

Gardaí sealed off the scene of the blaze and forensic experts began an intensive examination of the house yesterday to find the cause of the fire.

It was initially believed a gas explosion had taken place, but this was later denied by the fire services.

Local man Carl Delaney (45) said: "The woman in the house came out of the house and she was hysterical. There was smoke coming out of all the windows and the vents in the roof.

"I went up to the front door and opened it and thick black smoke came out. It was completely black and very thick and there was no way of getting inside so I shut the door again. There was no one in the house at this stage."

Next door neighbour Patrick Moriarty (47), a father of eight, said: "The first thing we heard was a hissing sound and then we saw the black smoke.

"Myself and my wife got our children and grandchildren out of the house straight away.

"I went around the back of our house and I could see flames coming out of the kitchen window in the house next door. The flames reached all the way up to the gutters," he said.

Mr Moriarty said the fire station is situated at the entrance to the housing estate and fire crews were quickly on the scene.

He said the fireman who was injured was taken by stretcher to an ambulance.

Frightening

Mr Moriarty's wife Jacqueline (51) said: "The first thing I heard was a whoosh sound next door and then I saw the smoke.

"The first thing we did was get the two sons and two daughters and two grandchildren out of the house. There was smoke everywhere. It was very frightening."

A 44-year-old mother of three said: "The fire brigade got here very fast. The firemen were very brave in putting their lives on the line."

Local councillor Mark Wall praised the fire crews' actions.

Irish Independent

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