Innocent family left terrified after gang's arson and gun attack
AN innocent Dublin dad has spoken of his terror after vicious thugs targeted his family home in a shocking arson and shotgun attack.
Matthew Smith (41) woke up to a large bang at 10.30pm on Sunday to find his front garden and car engulfed in flames.
"I opened the window to see what the commotion was, and a big fireball shot past my face," recalled the shaken dad-of-three.
The front of the family home in Deansrath Grove, Clondalkin, had been covered in accelerant before being set alight by reckless thugs.
Mr Smith explained he was in bed early as his job as a truck driver usually has him on the road by 4am.
A "deafening bang" woke him up and when he looked out of his window he noticed that his "front door was melting".
"I shouted to my wife Joan to ring 999, that the house was on fire, and ran and grabbed my three-year-old son from his bed.
"I then went and got my two girls who are 16 and 18 and we all rushed into the back garden.
"There was no way out the front. Whoever did this made sure that no one was going to get out that way."
Mr Smith then heard a lot of shouting coming from the front of the house. He ran back inside to find the blaze at his front door had been extinguished.
In an amazing display of community spirit, neighbours had bravely battled the inferno with hoses, fire blankets and saucepans full of water.
They put out the front door blaze while the family car burnt in the driveway beside them.
"I saw the car and just jumped in it," said Mr Smith. "People were saying to get out that it could blow, but I needed to get it away from the house."
The fire brigade arrived a short time later and extinguished the 2002 Ford Focus before making the house safe to re-enter.
In the commotion Mr Smith said he hadn't realised that the window had been shot out until the next day.
"I didn't know until a forensic guy showed me the led stuck in part of the frame. We are very lucky... my wife had only left the room a short time before."
Gardai said the truck driver, who has no previous convictions or links to organised crime, and his family were victims of mistaken identity.
But the traumatised family man is worried that people will think he is involved with crime.
"We are just ordinary hard working people. I am worried that people will think we did something," Mr Smith said.
"My girls are too afraid to come home."