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Family’s lucky escape from Bantry blaze

Friday, 1st February, 2019 11:30pm

Story by Jackie Keogh
Family’s lucky escape from Bantry blaze

The fire was described as ‘serious’ by the local fire station officer in Bantry (Photo: Andy Gibson)

A MOTHER and her two kids had a lucky escape from a late night blaze which almost completely gutted their house at Gortroe, near Bantry.

Bantry station officer Ian Vickery confirmed that two units from the town, as well as units from Skibbereen and Schull fire brigades, attended the fire after the alarm was raised at 11pm last Saturday and they tackled the blaze for four-and-a-half hours.

Mr Vickery said: ‘This was a serious fire, which resulted in the near total loss of the house, but the residents got out safely and raised the alarm.’

He said the house fire was fanned by the strong winds and described the stormy conditions as ‘a major contributory factor to the damage.’

Mr Vickery said the situation ‘must have been frightening for the family’ because of the intensity of the heat and the size of the flames, which poked through the caved-in roof and sent sparks 50ft into the night sky. But he said there was also the added danger caused by slates flying off the roof in the high winds.

Because the house was four miles from Bantry near the Mealagh Valley, Mr Vickery said it was necessary to call in extra support from Schull to bring extra water.

They were then able to pump water from a stream about a mile away and replenish their water tanker.

Mr Vickery said: ‘The community in Bantry is noted for the way it rallies around people in their time of need.’

Bantry-based Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) told The Southern Star: ‘I have been dealing with the family and they are happy and relieved to be safe and sound. They are staying with family at the moment and the people of Bantry are being very kind. They are, however, saddened by the fact that a lot of their property has been damaged, including items of sentimental value.’