A YOUNG family were blessed by their own Christmas miracle yesterday when they dramatically escaped a blaze that swept through – and devastated – their home in the early hours.
Thanks to the heroics of their mother and neighbours, three children are alive today. Despite a raging fire and thick black smoke, Vivienne Kellet (28) passed her children Ellen (10), Thomas (3) and Eric (six months) through a tiny upstairs window into the arms of waiting neighbours, before being rescued herself. The children are today recovering in hospital.
Vivienne was put in an induced coma by hospital staff after her heroics but is believed to be recovering well with just some superficial burns.
Yesterday, her mother Joan told the Irish Independent: "I was talking to the doctor in the hospital and he said it was a miracle they got out".
The Christmas Day drama began at about 3.30am when the fire broke out at Kellet home in the Knockmore estate at Tallaght, Dublin.
Friends and neighbours -- alerted by smoke alarms and screaming -- rushed from their beds to the back of the terraced house.
But a potential tragedy was averted, largely thanks to the help of neighbours Robert Finn, brothers David and Raymond Fitzgerald and their parents John and Carmel who all helped in the dramatic rescue.
"I heard her screaming and I looked out the window," Mr Finn said yesterday.
"I didn't panic; nothing went through my head. You just do what you do. I have never felt heat like that in my life."
Vivienne had already brought her three children -- including six-month-old Eric -- to a window at the back of the house.
In chaotic scenes, Mr Finn, wearing just boxer shorts and socks, clambered up on a small extension at the back of the house and reached the small window.
He grabbed the children and passed them down to neighbour.
"There were gangs out (on the street) and there was smoke everywhere," explained David Fitzgerald, just hours after the dramatic rescue.
"I brought them (the kids) into the house and put blankets on them."
Meanwhile, the fire brigade had arrived and firemen managed to rescue Ms Kellet.
Thanks to her quick thinking all three children were said to be in "good spirits" in Tallaght Hospital yesterday where they received treatment for smoke inhalation.
Exhausted family members returned to the hospital yesterday to spend Christmas Day at their bedsides.
"They said they would be in (hospital) for 12 to 24 hours as a precaution," Vivienne's mother Joan said.
"They are eating and the baby is taking the bottle."
While it is not known exactly what sparked the fire, it is understood it began in the sitting room downstairs.
Meanwhile, emergency services responded to at least two other serious blazes on Christmas Day.
In Harold's Cross in Dublin a blaze broke out on Kenilworth Square East at around 4am. A man was taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.
In Co Louth, a fire broke out at a home in the Moneymore estate in Drogheda and a woman received treatment in hospital.