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Friday 17 November 2017

Mum and son (8) fight for life as gardaí probe petrol bomb theory

Gardaí at the scene of the fire in the first-floor flat in Inchicore, Dublin, yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Ken Foy and Conor Feehan

GardaÍ believe a devastating fire that tore through the home of a mother and her three young children was started deliberately.

Sources confirmed investigating officers are treating the blaze that left Maggie Green (30s) and her son Francie (8) fighting for their lives as a suspected arson attack.

Ms Green's son John (13) and daughter Savannah (7) were also hospitalised following the fire at a first-floor flat in Tyrone Place in Inchicore, Dublin, at around 11.15pm on Monday.

Officers believe an object, "possibly a petrol bomb", was either thrown at the front door or it may have been opened and the object thrown into the property.

"All the indications here are that an accelerant was involved," a senior source said last night.

A motive for the attack had not been established last night.

The suspected arson attack is being investigated by Kilmainham gardaí.

Ms Green and her three children were trapped in the fire as neighbours battled to get them out.

John was rescued from a balcony at the back of the block by a local with a ladder, while flames and smoke stopped others from gaining access at the front of the block.

Ms Green and Francie were said to be in a critical condition last night, suffering from burns and the effects of smoke inhalation.

She is under sedation and fighting for her life, while Francie has severe burns to his upper body. Savannah has burns to her hands, while John thankfully escaped injury.

Investigators spent a long time at the scene yesterday, searching the flat, the grounds, bins, and even under cars. They also carried out door-to-door enquiries in the flats and in the houses across the road on St Vincent Street West, asking residents if they had seen or heard anything suspicious around the time of the fire.

Members of the Garda technical bureau spent a long time concentrating on the front door and window of the flat.

One local man who tried to help said the door was slightly open when he reached it, and he noticed the area around the ESB meter was ablaze with blue flames, and the plastic boxes surrounding it had melted.

Greg Bolger, who also lives in the complex, described how he saved one of the children by using a ladder to climb in through the back of the apartment.

"I live four doors down and I just got a knock on the door to help," he said.

"The flat a couple of doors down was in flames and I heard all the kids were there, so I got a ladder and climbed up the back.

"I got one young fella out, he's around 13 or 14. I tried to get through the flames (to get the rest) but I couldn't."

The balcony at the back of the apartment was secured by railings, and someone had to cut through a lock with bolt cutters to bring John down to safety.

Neighbour Caroline Jolley said: "Maggie and her three kids live there, and we could hear them shouting and screaming 'get me out', and we were shouting that there was help on the way."

Meanwhile, it has emerged that residents of the Tyrone Place apartment complex had raised concerns about escape routes at the building.

The construction, which was built in the 1950s, was also the subject of complaints about damp as recently as last year.

Irish Independent

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