Friday 24 January 2020

'I let Mila go, and knew hero would save her', reveals blaze dad who had to throw baby daughter out the window

Hero Mark Furlong (left) and Baby Mila Murphy with her parents Derek Healy and Charlene Murphy (right)
Hero Mark Furlong (left) and Baby Mila Murphy with her parents Derek Healy and Charlene Murphy (right)
The scene on Gloucester Place in Dublin. Inset, rescuer Mark Furlong
Mark Furlong, pictured at The Gloucester Place Fire this morning.
Firefighters in a hoist pictured at The Gloucester Place Fire this morning.
The scene of the fire at The Gloucester Place

The dad who was forced to throw his three-month-old baby from the top window of their burning city home said he knew in his heart that hero Mark Furlong would catch her safely.

Speaking from the Mater Hospital where he is at his partner Charlene Murphy's bedside, Derek Healy (26) re-lived the horror of Tuesday morning when the three-storey house on Gloucester Place off Sean McDermott Street went up in flames.

Six people were hospitalised after jumping or being thrown to safety, but Charlene and her mother Edel remain in hospital today having suffered broken bones while escaping the blaze.

"Edel was on the floor below us, and her little girl Lola (2) was in her room with her," Derek explained.

"I was upstairs feeding Mila so I was actually awake," he added.

"Edel started shouting that the house was on fire, I think she smelled the smoke, but the flames took hold so quickly that there was no way out down the stairs because the fire started somewhere in the hall," he said.

"I think it might have been the boiler because it's the only thing I can think of in that area. It certainly wasn't the sitting room or kitchen that the fire started in," Derek told the Herald.

"Edel ran into her son Gary's room and got him up, and I knew they were going to try and get out the back, but that left me, Charlene and Mila up on the top floor," he added.

"The house was filling with smoke and I just knew we had to get out quick.


"I was shouting out the window for help and I knew that I had to get Mila out of the smoke, so I had to hold her out the window, I had no choice.

"I must have been holding her out there for two minutes," said Derek.

"We were starting to panic, and I was thinking that if nobody came soon I would have to try and climb out with Mila, but that would have been very difficult, and then I saw two lads running up the road towards us," he added.

"I shouted at one of the lads to catch Mila.

"I was holding her far out enough to clear the roof on the lower floor below me and I had to let her go. It was the only way I knew to save her."

But Derek had full confidence in the stranger below into whose arms he was going to trust his tiny baby daughter.

"I let her go. I saw her drop. But I knew 100pc that the lad was going to catch her. Thank God he did," he said.

"Then I climbed out and dropped on to the sloping roof below and then down on to the ground, but when Charlene was coming out she fell awkwardly.

"Maybe fellas are more used to climbing and things because they are doing it since they were kids, I don't know," he added.

Derek watched as Charlene crashed on to the sloping roof and then got thrown to the ground below.

She suffered a fractured pelvis and a gashed chin in the drop, but it is possible that bouncing off the lower roof broke her fall and saved her life.

Mila and Lola were discharged from hospital yesterday after being in Temple Street for 24 hours for observation.

Charlene's brother Gary was also discharged with only minor injuries.


The family are now staying with a wide circle of family around the city as they try to piece their lives back together.

"Everyone has been very good and have helped us out," said Derek.

"People have been buying us nappies and clothes and things, and I have heard that the local community are raising funds for us which will help replace other things like the pram and buggy and things. Everyone is being brilliant," Derek added.


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