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The hero grandad who saved children from blaze horror

THIS is have-a-go hero grandad Frank Colliton, who broke down the door of a burning home in south Dublin with his shoulder to try to rescue a woman inside.

Frank, in his 60s, who had spotted the blaze while outside his own house across the road, and cleared women and children from the blazing building before barging into the women's shelter in an attempt to drag out another woman.



Flames

The woman was last week acquitted of setting her home alight in the fire on September 30 last that left courageous Frank with burned hands.

"The gardai were there a few minutes earlier. Shortly after they had left I thought I saw flames at the window upstairs, then four seconds later the place just went up," Frank told the Herald.

"I ran over and started ringing all the buzzers and eventually got in. I could see kids playing inside and I told someone to get them out, and then I ran up the two flights of stairs to where I thought the fire was."

Frank started banging on doors to alert people . When he reached the door of the woman who was later charged, there was no answer.

"I used my shoulder to break the door down," he explained.

"I tried one bedroom but she wasn't in there, and then as soon as I opened the second bedroom door the smoke just poured out," he added.

"I thought I should open the window to let the smoke out, but when I did the blinds had melted and fell down onto my hands. I didn't feel any pain at the time because the adrenaline was going."

The smoke and flames eventually beat Frank back, and the fire brigade came and rescued the woman from the room.

Brave Frank was hospitalised with burns and had to attend outpatients for three months.

The woman was subsequently charged with arson but the case was dismissed at Dublin District Court. She had pleaded not guilty.

Judge David McHugh ruled that the State had failed to provide any direct evidence that she had caused the fire, which left the apartment "uninhabitable".

The court heard gardai had answered a separate emergency call to the apartment half an hour before the blaze started. Their earlier visit came as a result of an alleged suicide-threat 999 call.

cfeehan@herald.ie


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