Brave gardaí praised for daring rescue
TWO brave Gardai who rushed into an blaze at an apartment complex in Mallow and rescued a man and a woman have been heaped with praise.
Garda Liam Phillips and Garda Catriona O'Sullivan managed to save Chris Palmer and Rachel Crawshaw, when a fire broke out at the Granary Court complex in Mallow, shortly after midnight last Wednesday night. Two other men, John Palmer (37) and Greg Lonergan (36) both died.
Superintendent Pat McCarthy of Mallow Garda station said without the intervention of both Gardai, there could have been four deaths.
The two brave Gardai firstly removed Chris Palmer who was in the hallway and then heard the cries of Rachel Crawshaw and brought her to safety.
At this stage, the apartment became engulfed in both heat and smoke. Both Gardai were treated for smoke inhalation at Cork University Hospital last Thursday morning but were later released.
Despite their ordeal, the duo have not taken any time off work and instead have thrown themselves into the investigation along with their colleagues at Mallow
It is Garda Phillips' third time rescuing a person from a fire.
In May, 2006, a fire broke out at Denis McCarthy's butcher shop in Mallow. Mr McCarthy was asleep in an apartment upstairs at the time. It's understood a fridge on the premises caught fire.
Garda Phillips, who hails from Newcastlewest, County Limerick was accompanied by fellow Limerickman, Garda Pat O'Connell and Garda David White. They broke the window in the shop to gain entry and the noise woke up Mr McCarthy, who began to make his way out of the premises.
The Gardai then removed him from the premises via the broken window.
In October 2010, Garda Phillips along with Garda Aoife Walsh were called to another fire at Davis Terrace in Mallow after getting a 999 call. It's understood that Mick Meade, who was 70 years-old, had fallen asleep in front of a heater at his home and Gardai rushed to his home at 3.20am.
When they arrived, they found Mr Meade lying in a semi conscious state after becoming overcome by smoke. He was lying inside his front door and was wedging it closed.
Both Gardai then smashed a glass panel on the front door but were not able to lift out the injured man. They then held him up and used fire extinguishers which they got from their patrol car to ensure that the fire didn't get near him.
They kept spraying all around him until the fire brigade arrived.
The brave duo did manage to get him to the front door so that he could have fresh air, and then the fire brigade crew removed him from his home.
Garda Phillips has been in the force for nine years, while his colleague, Garda O'Sullivan, who hails from Gneeveguilla in County Kerry has seven years service. She spent six years based at Anglesea Garda station in Cork city and has been based in Mallow for one year.