Monday 17 June 2019

Family fled as fire came within 50m of their home

A resident works to cut gorse and vegetation away from ESB poles near houses as the fire raged on Saturday
A resident works to cut gorse and vegetation away from ESB poles near houses as the fire raged on Saturday

A Bray man and his young family fled their home on Saturday afternoon as the fire came within 50m of their home.

Jack Curran, who lives with his wife and two children on the Cliff Road, said the inferno which desolated Bray Head came within 50 metres of his home.

'We left at 3 p.m. on Saturday on the advice of the fire service. But we didn't need any advice to be honest. We could see that we needed to get out. I knew I needed to get my wife and two sons out of the house.

'Aside from the fire, which was dangerously close to us, the helicopter was going to be flying over the house dropping water so it simply wouldn't have been safe to stay in the house.

'Quite a few other people in the area left their homes too but some people didn't get out in time so had to stay there. The fire was raging on the road at that stage and it would have been unsafe to leave,' he said.

'The fire was simply out of control at that stage. The fire service battled the flames in horrendous conditions and managed to get it back under control.

'At that stage we had gone down to Greystones Harbour to watch it develop. You could see how quickly it was spreading but the fire service slowly started to pull it back.'

Jack said that his eight-year-old son, in particular, had been very frightened by the ferocity and proximity of the fire.

'The older lad, who is 16-years-old, was getting a bit of a kick watching the helicopters fly over and that, but the younger lad, who is eight, was very afraid at certain points.

'I didn't go to bed at all on Friday night/Saturday morning because I was trying to keep an eye on things. At about 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, it was like two bombs had gone off on it (Bray Head). Massive flames shot up about 20 feet and all you could see was smoke and debris.

'I phoned the fire service and they were on their way to assess the situation. The fire brigade never really left our side all weekend. I commend their bravely and that of the Air Corp and the gardaí. They were dealing with pretty horrific conditions.

'I was afraid the power lines would be burnt out of it. There was evidence of that at the end of the road.

'The power was turned off in the area for a while as a safety precaution,' he said.

'We returned home at around 8 p.m. on Saturday evening and, by that stage, the fire service had broken the back of it (the fire). I went up to Greystones Fire Station and I shook hands with the lads there, telling them of the wonderful work they had done. They did outstanding work. There were some very near misses here.'

Jack said that he believes that more preventative measures need to be put in place to ensure that when a fire starts on Bray Head, it doesn't develop into a crisis situation.

'I've been saying for some time that there is far too much vegetation in the area. You are dealing with all the gorse on one side and the forest on the other and the houses are sandwiched between the two.

'If the council aren't going to tackle the vegetation, they need to put fire hydrants along the road up here so that the fire service can tap into the water supply rather than relying on their tankers and engines because they only have a certain capacity.

'Fire hydrants on the road would be a great help to them. I was out trying to fight it with a garden hose over the weekend. I know there was a ban on them but this was an emergency situation.'

Jack said that the residents in the area will be making a collection for the members of the fire service to thank them for all the work they had done over the course of the weekend.

Wicklow People