Appeal for help after terrace fire leaves families homeless
Published 02/04/2015 | 02:30
Kind-hearted residents gave gifts of clothing, bedding and furniture as families – including seven children – were left homeless as a fire engulfed six houses.
The remains of the terrace of homes at Millfield Manor, Newbridge, Co Kildare will have to be demolished to make them safe after the gable walls were left leaning outwards and threatening to topple.
A family who fled the blaze that engulfed their home on Tuesday has told how they have lost everything in the fire and just have the clothes they are standing up in.
Marcin Podmokly and his wife Yola, daughter Alcia (2) and son Oskar (5) told how they learned a massive fire had just started.
Polish national Marcin said he was at home with his children while Yola was at work. Everything was normal until 4pm.
“I heard a big bang, and I looked in the gardens and I saw the windows from one of the rooms next door lying there, so then I ran to the front and I saw the big living room window broken and a big fire in the room,” Marcin said. “I grabbed my children and my passport and I ran out the door.
“I could not take clothes or anything. There was no time.
“We waited for the fire brigade to come. My house was not on fire at that stage but when I was leaving the smoke was in the upstairs part.
“The fire then spread quickly through the roofs of the six houses. Three hours later everything was gone.
“Everything we own is gone. Our clothes, our children’s clothes, all our photographs of our wedding and the children. Everything,” he added.
Polish national Wlodzimierz Blachnio also spoke of his shock as he told how he had been left homeless.
The chief fire officer of Kildare Fire Service described how no one was injured in the blaze but high winds fanned the flames as they tried to protect neighbouring properties.
“Units from Newbridge and Naas were here within ten minutes of the alarm being raised, but at that stage one of the houses was fully involved in fire,” said Celina Barrett at the scene.
“The flames then spread to two neighbouring properties accelerated by the strong winds.
“After 30 minutes, the priority changed to stopping the fire spreading to a neighbouring terrace because it was realised that it was impossible to save the six homes that were burning.”
A 39-year-old man later presented himself at Newbridge garda station as fire crews continued to battle to stop the fire spreading.
The response from the people of Newbridge to the plight of the fire victims has been phenomenal.
From all over the town they came to the Ryston Sports and Social Club yesterday with donations of clothing, bedding and furniture, and a fund was set up locally to raise finances for the families.
The level of donations from families, shops and businesses was so large that teams had to begin sorting them at tables in a hall upstairs.
Young children even brought toys knowing that they would be needed by other kids left with nothing.
At a meeting in the club organised by local Independent councillors Willie Crowley and Joanne Pender, volunteers were told that seven children had been left homeless.
Three girls aged 18 months, two and four, as well as four boys aged five, eight, ten and eleven, had been left with nothing after the fire. A special fund has been set up to assist the families affected by the fire.
The Permanent TSB account has a BIC code IPBSIE2D with an IBAN number IE67IPBS99064524172540.