TWO North Cork gardai who risked their lives to save a young mother and two toddlers from a blazing building have been awarded for their bravery.
Garda Neil Murphy from Mallow and Garda Michael Murphy from Glenville, who are both stationed in Wexford, smashed the front door of the house in Coolcotts and battled through thick smoke to reach Natasha Gordon, her daughter Rebecca ( 2) and her nephew James (3) in September 2010.
This week the two were presented with Scott Medals at a ceremony in Templemore on Monday. The awards are granted to gardai in recognition of examples of exceptional courage and bravery in the line of duty.
Natasha (23) was babysitting for her sister, Tracey, and sleeping overnight in her house when a smoke alarm went off at about 2.25am.
She went to the top of the stairs to investigate but was beaten back by dense smoke which filled the house.
It was later discovered that an electrical fault in the sitting room sparked a fire which set the sofa alight, producing toxic fumes.
Quick-thinking Natasha closed the door of the bedroom, which started to swell from the heat, and gave the children cloths to cover their mouths.
Using her mobile phone, she telephoned the fire service and also rang Neil Murphy who works as a community garda in the Clonard area.
He happened to be on duty with Garda Michael Murphy at the time and together the pair rushed to the scene.
The heroic gardai gained entry to the house after Neil smashed the glass in the front door, cutting his hand in the process.
On gaining entry, Neil and Michael ran upstairs and kicked open the bedroom door which was stuck from the heat.
They carried the frightened children to safety before returning for Natasha whose dad, Charlie, also helped in the rescue operation.
' The whole family would like to say a big thank you to the two gardai for their bravery. Without them, God knows what would have happened', Tracey said after the fire..
An estimated €20,000 worth of damage was caused to Tracey's home in the fire, and the two gardai were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation and cuts.