An elderly couple from The Barracks in Newbridge are in a critical condition in St James’ hospital after their house went on fire late last night.
The married couple, who are in their late 50s and 60s, suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation in the blaze that gardai believe was started accidentally around 10.30pm on Wednesday night, June 26.
Next door neighbour Willie Doyle, (85) whose house is attached to the couple’s, was in bed asleep when the fire broke out.
“I had gone up to bed around 10.15pm,” he said speaking to the Leinster Leader.
“Then I heard my son Martin shouting ‘get up dad, get up the place is going to go’. Just as we got out, the windows all blew. I got an awful fright. I’m still not back to myself.”
Mr Doyle, whose terraced house was not badly affected by the fire next door, went to sleep with a relative in College Park and only returned home on this morning (Thursday).
“There was a bit of smoke in the house and there is the smell but I was lucky,” he added. “Somebody kicked in my front door but I was already gone.”
Newbridge town Cllr Damian Molyneaux, who is a nephew of Mr Doyle, said he drove by his uncle’s house at 10.20pm.
“I didn’t see anything,” he said. “I didn’t know until this morning. It’s frightening. They are very good neighbours, he said, referring to the couple.
A number of neighbours had also gathered outside their own front doors this morning in the aftermath of the blaze, while local gardai patrolled the area.
One man said he saw the blaze from his bedroom window, and spoke of his disbelief at the terrifying sight.
“I was looking from my bedroom window,” the neighbour said. “He [the man of the house] was outside trying to get her [his wife] out and his hands were burned. Three neighbours went in and pulled the wife down the stairs and got her out. Someone then got a saucepan of water for his hands. God love them, the house is gutted.”
Another concerned neighbour described the scene as “ferocious”.
“Fire was coming out through the top of the windows,” she said. “The fire brigade put it out. We thought it was lads messing at first. It was hard to sleep afterwards. The windows started to shatter and there was a loud bang, then the gardai told us to get back. They were taken to hospital in two separate ambulances.”
Sergeant James O’Sullivan from Newbridge Garda Station confirmed that the fire started in the upstairs bedroom.
“They both suffered serious burns and smoke inhalation and they are both critical at this moment,” he said.
“The scene is currently being examined but it appears that it was an accidental fire.”