herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Granny saved children from tragic blaze

FIRE: She couldn't save their mum

An 81-year-old grandmother got her four grandchildren to safety but was beaten by flames when she went back to rescue her daughter, it has emerged.

Mum-of-four Una O'Haire (44) died in the fire in the red- brick bungalow at Newcastle, Co Dublin yesterday.

The children's grandmother, Sheila Cassells, is understood to have been the first to wake to the smell of smoke and immediately rushed to get the four children aged eight, 10, 11 and 15, out of the house.

"By the time she got back to the house to try and rescue her daughter the fire was just too strong," said a neighbour.



SHOCK

Up to 25 firefighters fought the intense blaze at the house in the Brownstown area, which broke out at around 2.15am.

It is believed the fire started in a bedroom. Today the scene was being preserved by gardai to carry out a technical examination to find the cause.

Local people have described Ms O'Haire as "a great family woman" and "a sound lady" saying the local community was so small that everyone knew everyone else.

Local parish priest Fr Enda Cunningham said: "The family are in total shock and trying to come to terms with what's happened. People are offering whatever assistance they can and rallying around the family. Clearly they're still in shock and trying to come to terms with it."

The detached bungalow was almost completely gutted in the blaze. The roof over half the property collapsed and the windows blew out.

The children, their grandmother and their pet dog were brought to a nearby relative's home where they were being comforted today.

A neighbour said that everyone in the area was shocked and devastated. None of them had any idea the house was on fire until the blaze was well under way.

"It's terrible," he added. "My Dad woke up. He could hear something popping and looked outside but thought it was fireworks."

Floral tributes were left at the driveway of the house.

hnews@herald.ie

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