Children airlifted to hospital after west Cork fire
Three children, two of whom are infant twins, suffered serious burn injuries in an accidental fire in west Cork and had to be airlifted to hospital.
The incident, which took place in the Drinagh area of west Cork, occurred around 6pm. The circumstances of the incident remain unclear but it is understood three children were injured. Two of the children are said to be six-month-old twins.
The other is believed to be a two-year-old sibling. One child suffered what are described as severe burn injuries.
Local sources indicated that the children suffered burns to more than 20pc of their body.
The burns suffered were mostly to their arms and legs.
Initial reports indicated that the injuries were sustained in either an accidental fire or some type of fuel explosion.
It is believed the incident occurred near the kitchen of the house. The three children were either resting or playing nearby.
The fire also spread to part of the building before being extinguished. Emergency services are still trying to determine precisely what happened.
Such was the serious nature of the incident that medics decided the children needed to be transferred to hospital by helicopter rather than by road to Cork city via ambulance.
The Irish Coastguard's Shannon-based Rescue 115 was diverted to the area.
To speed the transfer process, it landed on a field adjacent to where the children were injured. A match was underway on Drinagh sports pitch with hundreds in attendance. Officials had offered to suspend the game and clear the grounds to allow the helicopter to land.
However, the field was preferred as a landing spot given that it offered a faster transfer to hospital.
Family members, neighbours and paramedics attempted to comfort the injured children as they awaited the arrival of the Irish Coast Guard helicopter.
The three children were then airlifted to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for assessment and emergency treatment.
Family members were also rushed to CUH and they were maintaining a vigil by the children last night. A decision will be made today as to whether any of the children need to be transferred to the specialist burns unit in Dublin.
However, it is understood such a transfer will only take place when the children's conditions are fully stabilised.
Gardaí, fire brigade members, and neighbours assisted with the rescue operation.