Saturday 22 October 2016

Hero garda saves pensioner from burning building

Ken Foy and Robin Schiller

Published 10/08/2015 | 07:51

Diarmuid O'Donovan
Diarmuid O'Donovan

Gardai are investigating the circumstances surrounding a blaze at a Dublin apartment complex that led to a detective garda heroically rescuing an elderly woman from the burning building.

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Diarmuid O'Donovan (37) was being hailed for his bravery last night after he risked his life to save the woman, named locally as 72-year-old Kathleen Griffin.

Kevin Street fire Pic: Dublin Fire Brigade/Twitter
Kevin Street fire Pic: Dublin Fire Brigade/Twitter

One witness told the Herald that if it was not for the officer's "extremely brave and quick actions", Ms Griffin would have died in the fire.

"His actions were exceptional, there can be no doubt about that," the witness added.

The dramatic rescue operation happened just after 4pm on Saturday when a flat in the Iveagh Trust complex on Kevin Street, in the south inner city, became engulfed in flames.

Detective O'Donovan and Sgt James O'Brien were driving into the garda station across the road when they noticed smoke billowing from the flat.

The respected officer, from Bantry, Co Cork, jumped over railings and made his way on to the balcony of the first-floor unit.

He broke into the flat with the help of his colleague and neighbours amid fears that the pensioner was inside, and then ran in to the burning building.

He found Ms Griffin, who was lying on a couch in the living room, and helped her out to the balcony.

Detective O'Donovan stayed with her until the fire brigade arrived with a ladder to get them down.

Ms Griffin was rushed to St James's Hospital where she remained last night, being treated for smoke inhalation and burns to her face and legs.

Neighbours yesterday said that her family were at her bedside and that she was recovering.

Her apartment was completely gutted.

Detective O'Donovan was also hospitalised after the incident. He was later released after being treated for smoke inhalation. Sgt O'Brien also required hospital treatment after he suffered cuts and lacerations to his hands.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, with a full technical examination of the property being undertaken yesterday.

It is understood that the blaze may have started in a bedroom of the flat, which is situated above a post office.

Detective O'Donovan's normal duties involve investigating serious crime in the capital's south inner city.

He is also an enthusiastic contributor to the garda charity cycling group Tour de Force.

He was pictured with Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan at the launch of an event last year when gardai cycled to Frankfurt, Germany, to raise money for charities including Age Action and LauraLynn House.


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