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Sunday 22 October 2017

Mum and son (8) critical after flat fire 'possibly caused by petrol bomb'

Gardai examine Maggie Green’s flat in Inchicore after a fire left her and her son Francie (8) in a critical condition
Gardai examine Maggie Green’s flat in Inchicore after a fire left her and her son Francie (8) in a critical condition

Gardai believe a devastating fire which ripped through the home of three young children and their mother was started deliberately.

Sources confirmed investigating officers are treating the blaze, which left Maggie Green (30s) and her son Francie (8) fighting for their lives, as a suspected arson attack.

Maggie's other son John (13) and daughter Savannah (7) were also hospitalised following the fire at a first-floor flat in Tyrone Place, Inchicore, on Monday night.

Officers believe an object, "possibly a petrol bomb", was either thrown at the front door, or that the front door may have been opened and the object thrown into the property.

"All the indications here is that an accelerant was involved," a senior source said.

A motive for the attack had not been established last night and the suspected arson incident is being investigated by Kilmainham gardai.

Trapped

Maggie and her three children were trapped by the fire as neighbours battled to get them out late on Monday night.

John was rescued from a balcony at the back of the block by a local with a ladder, while flames and smoke stopped others from gaining access at the front of the block.

Maggie and Francie were said to be in a critical condition last night, suffering from burns and the effects of smoke inhalation.

Maggie is under sedation and fighting for her life, while Francie has severe burns to his upper body. Savannah has burns to her hands, while John thankfully escaped injury.

Investigators yesterday searched the flat, the grounds, the bins, and even under cars.

They also carried out door-to-door enquiries at the flats and the houses across the road on St Vincent Street West, asking residents if they had seen or heard anything suspicious around the time of the fire.

Members of the Garda Technical Bureau spent a long time concentrating on the front door and window of the flat.

One local man, who had tried to help, said the door was slightly open when he reached it, and he noticed the area around the ESB meter was ablaze with blue flames, and the plastic boxes surrounding it had melted.

Greg Bolger, who also lives in the flat complex, said he saved one of the children by using a ladder to climb in through the back of the apartment.

Flames

"I live four doors down and I just got a knock on the door to help," he said.

"The flat a couple of doors down was in flames and I heard all the kids were there, so I got a ladder and climbed up the back.

"I got one young fella out, he's around 13 or 14. I tried to get through the flames [to get the rest] but I couldn't."

The balcony at the back of the apartment was secured by railings, and someone had to cut through a lock with a bolt cutters to get John to safety.

Neighbour Caroline Jolley said: "Maggie and her three kids live there, and we could hear them shouting and screaming 'get me out', and we were shouting that there was help on the way."

Meanwhile, it has emerged that residents of the Tyrone Place apartment complex had been raising concerns about escape routes at the building.

The 1950s construction was also the subject of complaints about damp as recently as last year. Local councillor Greg Kelly said residents had been raising issues with him about fire safety in recent years.

"The lack of fire exits I think is always the biggest concern," he said. "There were obviously concerns over the damp, but there were absolutely concerns about fire safety as well, as there is with many of these 1950s buildings."

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