THROWBACK THURSDAY: Rathangan’s one-man fire brigade hero

75 years ago

Theresa Murray


Theresa Murray


THROW BACK THURSDAY: Rathangan’s one-man fire brigade hero

File photo: Rathangan

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Check out this report from the Leinster Leader in 1945 on the one-armed hero of Rathangan.

During a rather alarming outbreak of fire, which occurred suddenly in the chimney of a private house in Rathangan, Mr Bill Reilly, Main Street, climbed to the roof of the house, carrying a fire extinguisher and by directing the nozzle of the extinguisher down the chimney succeeded in quelling the outbreak, the Leinster Leader reported on October 23, 1943.

Mr Reilly’s feat was made remarkable by the fact that he has only one arm, having lost his other in a gun accident recently.

He managed his difficult ascent to the high roof with extraordinary celerity despite his handicap, but his difficulty in balancing himself on the roof top and at the same time holding and directing the extinguisher, can well be imagined in the circumstances.

Mr Reilly whose brave act gained him much praise locally, may well be called Rathangan’s “one man fire brigade” as he has already been responsible for quelling more than one outbreak of fire in Rathangan, notably at the St. John of God Convent some time ago.