Wednesday 23 May 2018

Locals rally round to help family who 'lost everything' in blaze

The gutted family home at Moylaragh Gardens in Ballbriggan, Dublin
The gutted family home at Moylaragh Gardens in Ballbriggan, Dublin

Local community members and anonymous well-wishers have rallied around a family whose home was destroyed on Halloween night.

Almost €2,500 has already been raised to help Manjola Sloan, her husband Alan and their two children, aged two and 13.

The family now face the prospect of homelessness after the blaze at their Dublin home.

"Alan and his family lost everything in a fire at their home on Halloween night, please help us raise funds to restore it," the Go Fund Me account, set up by a user named Bryan Campbell, read.

The account has a target of €10,000. More than 100 people had so far donated small and large amounts to help the family rebuild their home.


"My thoughts are with you, if there's anything I can do let me know," wrote one person who donated €50 to the online fundraising account.

"Thinking of you and your family at this very stressful time," another wrote. "I hope the renovations are quick and that you're back settled into your home as soon as possible."

Many messages indicate there is a strong community in Balbriggan which is willing to lend a helping hand.

"So sorry to hear what happened and glad you're getting support from the community," one message on the page read.

One woman said she had donated some children's toys and clothes in addition to the money. Another local also took to the page to empathise with her neighbours.

"This poor family live in my estate," she posted. "Could have been any of us. Hopefully if everybody even gives a little it will help them rebuild their lives."

Ms Sloan was in her house at Moylaragh Gardens with her mother and friend when the blaze broke out shortly after 10.30pm.

Her husband Alan was trick-or-treating with their two young children in the estate at the time. The upstairs of the house was "completely destroyed" in the blaze.

Thousands of euro worth of personal belongings, including personal items, such as photographs, were destroyed.

"I was downstairs with my mother and my friend when the fire broke out," Ms Sloan said.

"It started in my bedroom, and because the door was closed, I didn't realise the house was on fire.

"It wasn't until people started knocking on the front door that we realised what was going on. They were screaming 'Get out, there's a fire upstairs'.

"I ran up the stairs and opened the door to the room.

"My bed was ablaze. I tried desperately to throw water on it, but no matter what I did I couldn't stop the fire from spreading to the furniture and curtains.

"We ran out of the house. My mom called my niece on her mobile to tell her what was going on. My husband then raced back."

She said it took more than two hours for crews from Dublin Fire Brigade to put out the blaze, during one of its busiest Halloween nights ever.


Ms Sloan's husband Alan said their home was "completely gutted".

"What we're wearing at the moment is what we have left," he said.

"Everything was completely destroyed."

He said the family still didn't know what caused the fire.

"We don't know what sparked it off; it could have been anything. It [was an] extremely difficult night for us but the help we've received from locals has been incredible. We haven't slept - the whole ordeal has just been bewildering.

"It's been a nightmare for all of us."

Those wishing to make a donation can do so at www.gofundme.com/jz7xdvh8

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