Fire crews who cut four dead young women and their friend from a car have been commended for their work.
Almost 20 firefighters joined gardai and ambulance personnel at the scene of horror crash in Athy late last night.
A senior fire officer said members will be offered counselling services if they need it to help deal with the aftermath of the devastating crash which has numbed the local community.
“The crew out last night they did good work in the face of extreme circumstances,” Niall O'Riordan, senior assistant Chief Fire Officer with Kildare County Fire Service told independent.ie
“Four fatalities in one incident is a rare occurrence and the crews did very good work in what can be described as unusual circumstances."
The horror unfolded shortly before 10pm when a witness to the two vehicle road traffic collision on the N78 link road called emergency services.
“On arrival the first arriving vehicle at the scene discovered one vehicle well alight and another vehicle with a number of causalities,” Mr O’Riordan continued.
“As we now know, there were four fatalities at the scene.
“Once on a scene, crews kick in to mode and will do a professional job. They get on with the task in hand whatever they may be.”
He said the two men had escaped from the van involved before it burst in to flames.
The crews, from Kildare and Stradbally Fire Stations, then started the grim task of cutting five women from the car and remained on the scene until 1.30am.
They are recovering in hospital today, along with the 20-year-old driver of the car who suffered serious injuries.
Four of the five were pronounced dead at the scene and given the Last Rites on the roadside.
The 20-year-old driver of the car suffered serious injuries and is recovering in hospital, along with the two men.
Mr O’Riordan said a critical incident stress management (CISM) system is in place for members who need support after attending tragic accidents.
Measure include having peer support in each station, a freephone number for firefighters to call for a counselling session, or having councillors visit the station three or four days after an event to talk to groups.
“This event would be considered tragic enough that CISM will be a consideration, but it depends on the crew over the next few days if they want to participate,” Mr O’Riordan added.
Mr O’Riordan said fire crews in rural parts of Ireland often attend house fires or road accidents of people they know.
“When you get there you get on and do the job that has to be done, and deal with that bit afterwards,“ he added.