Sunday 26 January 2020

Heroic man who saved elderly passenger from bus engulfed in flames settles €38k damages claim

Dublin Airport
Dublin Airport

Ray Managh

A Co Louth man, who risked life and injury to assist an elderly passenger and others from a bus that had become engulfed in flames, today settled his €38,000 damages claim against Bus Eireann.

Barrister Bernadette Kirby, counsel for Eddie Martin (44), of Cypress Gardens, Bay Estate, Dundalk, told the Circuit Civil Court that his claim had been settled following talks.  The settlement figure was not divulged in court.

Ms Kirby, who appeared with McGuill Solicitors, said it had been agreed Mr Martin should be awarded his legal costs.

Mr Martin, who is a Facilities Team Member with Dublin Airport Authority, heroically braved swirling flames and thick black smoke in the Dublin - Dundalk Express to render assistance and escape to an elderly woman.

Having been seated at the back of the bus where the fire broke out in the engine department, Mr Martin was last to leave the bus and was one of the worst affected by fumes. The bus had gone on fire near the toll bridge at Drogheda, Co Meath on July 10, 2012.

In his claim Mr Martin stated he travelled daily on the Dundalk-bound express which that morning had left Dublin Airport at 7:30 a.m. 

He claimed the spread of the fire was such that the rear of the bus quickly became engulfed in flames and dense smoke. 

The bus had been burned to a shell.

He had been unable to avail of the rear emergency exit door and as he made his way to the front had stopped to assist the elderly woman and other passengers, which, he claimed, had exposed him for longer to smoke inhalation and the life-threatening emergency and traumatic scene.

During the evacuation he had encountered scenes of panic and distress among other passengers and afterwards had been treated by his family doctor for severe traumatic anxiety. 

He missed work for a short period.

Ms Jeri Ward, who appeared with Donal O’Hagan solicitors, for Bus Eireann stated in a defence to Mr Martin’s claim that the bus company did not require him to produce proof of the outbreak of fire but maintained the driver had reacted in a proper manner to the emergency.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, on consent struck out the proceedings with an award of costs.

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