Saturday 20 January 2018

Family's hope as doctors remove Biddy's bandages - but survivor 'still doesn't know about family deaths'

Biddy O'Brien
Biddy O'Brien
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The only survivor of the Clondalkin fire tragedy that claimed the lives of a pregnant mum and three children is making a slow recovery from the extensive burns she suffered in the blaze.

Biddy O’Brien (30) is still under heavy sedation in St James’s Hospital, with her distraught husband Jamie maintaining a bedside vigil.

More than a month after the fire, which broke out in the first floor of the Cluainin Cronan apartments, she is still reportedly unaware that her two children Jordan (4) and Holly (3) died, along with her cousin Annmarie (27), who was seven months pregnant with baby AJ, and Annmarie’s two-year-old daughter Paris.

“From speaking to a family member, I have been told the doctors are slowly removing the bandages from her wounds and they seem pleased with the way Biddy is healing physically, but she still has a long road ahead,” said Jim O’Brien, spokesman for the Bray Travellers Community Development Group.

Victims of Clondalkin fire. (From left clockwise) Holly (3), AnneMarie (27), Biddy (aged in her 30s), Jordan (4) and Paris (2) O'Brien
Victims of Clondalkin fire. (From left clockwise) Holly (3), AnneMarie (27), Biddy (aged in her 30s), Jordan (4) and Paris (2) O'Brien

“They are also slowly waking her, but she is sedated. She might know some small things about the fire now.

“Biddy was knocked unconscious by the smoke and suffered extensive burns. The family have to take things one day at a time.

Jordan O'Brien
Jordan O'Brien

“The staff and medical teams at St James’s are doing a fantastic job and they deserve a lot of praise.

“While the physical injuries are one thing, the mental and emotional pain are another.

Holly O'Brien
Holly O'Brien

“Jamie spends all his time with Biddy and has professional people, counsellors and bereavement specialists, both from within the Traveller Counselling Service and through the HSE, who are available to help if and when required.”

Mr O’Brien is a cousin of victim Annmarie.

It is thought a candle burning in a corner of the living room, close to the television, started the fire on March 8.

Herald

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