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Neighbours tell of moment Bridie (92) engulfed in flames

A PENSIONER injured in a gas explosion at her home on Wednesday remained in a critical condition in hospital today.

Bridget Berry (92), affectionately known as Bridie, suffered second and third degree burns in the blast in her kitchen at O'Rahilly House in Ringsend.

Her grand-nephew Tom Fields told the Herald that doctors at St James's Hospital's burns unit were concerned about her leg and upper body burns.


"The plastic surgeons are going to take a look at her ," he added. "They think the injuries to her face and hands might heal with time, but her legs and upper body are the main worry."

Neighbours told how they found the pensioner on fire.

"I was sitting in the living room and the next thing I heard was an unmerciful bang that shook the place," said Angie Mullen. "I ran out with my husband because we didn't know what had happened.

"We could hear Bridget calling for help. We have keys to her home so we got in as quick as we could and poor Bridget was on fire in the kitchen."

Another neighbour said that the sound of the explosion was "like a missile".

"There was a whistle and a bang, followed by the sound of glass smashing – it was awful," the neighbour added.

Bridget's bedroom window was blown out by the force of the explosion, which scattered glass over the back yard.

The pensioner has lived at O'Rahilly House for around 35 years. She lives alone following their death of her husband many years ago.

While she has no children, she is very independent and has relatives that keep in touch with her.


She goes to mass daily at St Patrick's Church in Ringsend and sings in the choir.

"She makes it to that church every day – even in the bad snow a few years ago it didn't stop her," said Angie Mullen.

"And she gets dialysis three times a week as well. She is a remarkable woman.

Gardai sealed off Bridget's ground-floor flat after the blast, the cause of which is currently under investigation.