A YOUNG mother was recovering in hospital with serious burn injuries last night after a fire completely gutted her home.
Natalie Murphy (30) jumped from the first floor of her terrace house at High Road in Thomondgate in Limerick city shortly before 6am yesterday when flames engulfed her home.
Her two children Courtney (11) and Jack (3) were lowered to the ground to safety.
The mother's fall was broken by a taxi driver who happened upon the scene around 5.50am.
The Good Samaritan suffered a broken leg as he caught the woman falling from the first-floor window.
Two other male adults who were in the house at Shelbourne Terrace at the time also escaped the blaze.
All five were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and then brought to University Hospital Limerick.
Ms Murphy was later transferred to the burns unit of St James Hospital in Dublin because of the severity of her injuries.
Her condition was described as serious but not life threatening.
Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus entered the house to check whether there was anybody else present and extinguished the blaze.
"This is a terrible tragedy for the Thomondgate area, and has led to an awful lot of shock and grief.
"We need to be grateful for the people who helped and possibly saved many people's lives in this fire," said local Sinn Fein Councillor Maurice Quinlivan.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the people. This is a long and well established Thomondgate family, and people would be praying and thinking about them and hoping everyone recovers," he added.
The scene was sealed off yesterday as a technical examination was carried out.
The cause of the blaze is not yet known and gardai are keeping an open mind.
Several items were removed from the scene and will be sent to the forensic testing laboratory at Garda Headquarters.
House-to-house inquiries were also being carried out yesterday.
Meanwhile, a farmer who died in a house fire has been described by neighbours as a "lovely, helpful man".
Jack Roche died after a fire broke out in his home in Loughfouder, Knocknagoshel, Co Kerry on Friday evening.
Friends of the 54-year-old last night paid tribute to the "quiet man" and described him as "very decent".
"He was a lovely neighbour, a very nice man and very helpful in every way," said his neighbour Mary Brosnan.
"He lived alone and it all just happened so quickly."
The body of the dead man was removed to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee, where a post-mortem was carried out.
A garda spokesperson said last night that "nothing untoward happened" and that it was being treated as "an accidental death".