THE HOME of a Rose of Tralee winner was firebombed in a sickening attack.
Only the quick action of her garda detective father prevented the blast from getting out of control.
The attack occurred at the home of Rose winner Charmaine Kenny, who took the crown in 2009.
Garda Detective Leon Kenny and his wife Marian were in the house when a petrol canister was set alight outside their front door in Athy, Co Kildare, causing substantial damage.
"The flames were high and licking the roof above the door," Detective Kenny said today.
He believes the incident may have been linked to his work as a garda.
"Marian went to the window to see what might have set it off and she saw the door on fire. It was incredible really," he said.
"We set about putting out the fire straight away, the flames were high and licking the roof above the door, I got the hose and wet blankets to put it out," Mr Kenny added.
"Nobody seems to have been seen coming or going, it's a mystery to me who could have done it but I assume it must be something to do with my work," he said.
Mr Kenny has been living and working in Athy for more than 20 years and is well known and respected in the town.
"I really don't have any idea of a motive, it is all under investigation at the moment," he said.
"This is very unusual for Athy," he added.
The front doors are totally destroyed, as well as windows to the side.
The gutters and soffits were also melted, and there was extensive damage to the paintwork and plaster on the front of the house.
London Rose Charmaine, who moved back in with her parents for the year after she was crowned Rose of Tralee in 2009, recently moved out of the house. However, her parents were at home when the attack was carried out.
"Nobody was injured, thank god," Mr Kenny said. "I put it out but it's not something you like to think about, you never know how these things can end up. We were lucky we were at the house that we were able to salvage it," he added.
The fire service were not called to the scene as the Kennys quickly brought the blaze under control. A garda spokesperson said the attack was under investigation. No arrests have been made.
Gardai appealed to anyone who may have seen a person carrying a petrol canister or acting suspiciously around the Castledermot Road area between 6pm and 6.30pm to contact them.
Charmaine (27) was welcomed home to Athy with a civic reception following her victory at the Rose of Tralee festival.
She had represented her adopted hometown of London in the 50th Rose of Tralee final.