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I thought I would die as my house burned around me

A DUBLIN mum whose partner was shot dead and whose son drowned has told how she crawled for her life after a suspected arson attack at her home.

Tina Murphy, from Dono-more Crescent in Killinarden, is still recovering from the burns she received in the blaze that ripped through her home on February 20, and is trying to rebuild her life.

She clambered out a bedroom window, helped by her son, narrowly avoiding serious injury or death.

But picking up the pieces is now hard for the mother of five to do, she told the Herald.

"I deserve to go straight to heaven after all of this. I think I'm doing my purgatory on earth to be honest," Tina said.

In 2001, her partner Joe Cummins was shot dead at point-blank range on Main Street in Tallaght.

And three years ago her son Keith died in a drowning incident in Lanzarote.

"I can't even bring myself to say maybe now things will change for the better, because every time I've said it in the past I've been knocked to the ground again," Tina told the Herald.

She was released from hospital on Tuesday having being rushed to intensive care following the fire.

She suffered burns to her face while trying to breathe in the intense heat, and burns to her hands while trying to open a window to escape.

"The guards think there was petrol poured in the front door and the kitchen door and set on fire. I don't know who would want to do it or why. They must have known we were in the house at the time," Tina explained.

Luckily, her son Dillon had not been home long when the fire broke out at around 8.30am on the Sunday. He woke up and helped his mother out of a bedroom window onto the porch roof before they were both rescued by neighbours.

"I can't remember much. I remember the heat, it was just so hot, and the handles on the window were melting, and that's what burned my hands," Tina added.

She said that if her son Dillon hadn't woken up, they might have both died in the fire.

"There was nothing left at all after the fire. Everything is gone, I don't even have any ID, and all our birth certs and photographs and everything just went up in smoke," she said.



Memories

There were fears for Tina's life after the fire when her throat started to swell and blocked her airway, and she was rushed to intensive care.

She is now staying with a friend until she gets new accommodation, and says she never wants to go back to her old home because it is just full of bad memories.

Her son Keith died on his first night at the popular resort of Puerto del Carmen in Lanzarote on May 26, 2008, during his first holiday abroad.

He had travelled to the Canaries to attend the wedding of a friend and was partying beside a pool when he fell in.

Keith had been left without a father from a young age after his dad Joe was gunned down in an execution-style killing as he left the Dragon's Inn pub on St Stephen's Day, 2001.

cfeehan@herald.ie