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Wednesday 20 August 2014

Four families lucky to escape with their lives when fire destroyed their homes

All four houses were ablaze within minutes

Conor Feehan

Published 19/06/2014 | 15:41

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The four homes burned in a fire in Navan today.
Within minutes, the flames had spread through the roof spaces and all four houses were ablaze

Four families were lucky to escape with their lives when fire destroyed their terrace homes in Navan.

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The alarm was raised in the Claremont estate near the centre of the Meath town at around 8pm yesterday after neighbours spotted smoke coming from the roof of one of the houses.

Within minutes, the flames had spread through the roof spaces and all four houses were ablaze.

Quick-thinking locals banged on the doors to get everybody out, and there were concerns for one elderly lady, Ann Gibney, who was in poor health and on oxygen before the fire.

Memories

One of the residents whose house was destroyed is Kathleen Sheridan, who said she was shocked at what happened.

“I was in the house and didn’t even know there was a fire at all until the neighbours came knocking,” she said.

“Thirty years of memories have been destroyed on me.”

Neighbour Eileen O’Connor said the fire spread extremely quickly.

“It was frightening. What is really worrying is how the fire could spread from one house to another,” she said.

“I would be afraid now that if one of my neighbours’ houses went on fire that it could spread to mine.”

Ms O’Connor said they were sure there would have been deaths if the fire had happened in the quiet of night time.

“The only reasons lives weren’t lost is because somebody spotted the smoke,” she said.

Investigators believe an electrical fault in the attic of one of the middle houses was the source of the fire and that it somehow spread through to the attics of the other three houses in the block.

Local man Liam Carthy said that even though there are block walls built up through the attics between the houses he can see into his neighbour’s attic from his own.

A spokesperson for Navan Fire Brigade said units from Navan, Trim and Kells fought the flames with the aid of a hydraulic platform unit.

“It was an aggressive fire that we term a ‘top-down’, meaning it started in the roof and spread,” they told The  Herald.

The houses were built in 1974 by the local authority but most are now bought-out and privately owned.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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