Family's devastation after they 'lose almost everything' in house fire week before Christmas
A FAMILY with three young children were left heartbroken after an accidental fire destroyed their rented home - and burned all their possessions ranging from clothing to wrapped Christmas presents.
The family, whose children range in age from six to eleven years, were luckily uninjured when the blaze devastated their home at Weston View in Carrigaline, Co Cork last Sunday evening.
Una Cronin has since been staying with friends until she sorts alternative accommodation - but was heartbroken at the consequences of the blaze.
"It was heartbreaking," she said.
"We lost almost everything in the fire and I was totally devastated for the children.
"But the most important thing is that no one was hurt.
"What we are hoping for now is a temporary place of our own for Christmas."
Such was the speed and scale of the fire, even the wrapped presents for the youngsters were incinerated.
One of the theories being examined is that the accidental blaze had an electrical cause.
Now, a special fund has been launched in Cork to help the family - and to replace the Christmas presents for the three children with just one week to go to December 25.
Launched by 96FM broadcaster, KC, the fund incredibly raised almost €10,000 of its €15,000 target within a few hours.
Offers flooded in from generous Corkonians ranging from clothing to toy vouchers and from hotel stays to cash.
Almost 500 donations were made in the space of just eight hours. KC said the kindness of ordinary people was truly astonishing.
"The main thing is trying to get normality back for the children," Una added.
"I want them to have a roof over their heads for Christmas and for when they go back to school in the New Year.
"All we are looking for is a place for them to stay while the house is being repaired.
"We are so grateful for everyone who has tried to help us. It has shown us the true meaning of the Christmas spirit," she said.
Anyone wishing to help Una and her children can obtain further details here.