GARDAÍ in Carlow are investigating after a fire completely gutted a house in Ratheendoran on St Stephen’s Night in which the resident lost all her worldly goods.
“There’s not even a sock left,” Bridget Murphy from Kyleeshal, Raheendoran told The Nationalist. “It’s so bad, it’s unrecognisable. The only thing that survived is the bible that would have been in my bedroom. I use it to say special prayers from it every night. Some of the pages are singed but it survived.”
Thankfully, Bridget wasn’t at home on St Stephen’s Night, having decided to visit her mother Elizabeth O’Neill in Leighlinbridge. At around 11am she got a phone call to say that her house was ablaze.
“I thought that they were messing,” she recalled. “I didn’t believe them until I arrived home and saw the fire brigades at the house.”
Acting chief fire officer Alan O’Neill said: “By the time we had a visual of it, the house was already fully on fire and the flames were through the roof.”
Twelve firemen from Carlow and Bagenalstown battled the inferno but the flames had already travelled through the attic after a bedroom ceiling fell in.
“The fire didn’t travel as normal because the door of the room where the fire started was closed, so it travelled through the attic and burnt the roof off. All she’s left with now are four walls,” explained Mr O’Neill.
The blaze in Kyleeshal was just one of a number of house fires that the fire service had to attend to over the past two weeks. They also fought two separate domestic fires on Friday 5 January, when houses were in flames in Rathoe and near Rathvilly, while last Monday, 8 January, a house was badly damaged on the Athy Road, Carlow. That fire started in the early hours of the morning in an upstairs bedroom when there were two occupants in it.
Bridget has now been left homeless and has approached the council, which owns the house, for alternative accommodation. A spokesperson for the council said that it couldn’t comment on how long it would take to rebuild Bridget’s precious home, but did say that it was working towards a solution to find her suitable accommodation in the meantime.
Having lost everything she owns in the fire, Bridget is thankful that she was away from the house at the time and that none of her children or grandchildren were there either.
“The house is ruined. It’s desperate, but we’ve got ourselves and no-one got hurt. That’s the main thing,” she concluded.
Gardaí in Carlow are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information that could help them in their investigation to come forward. You can contact them on 059 9136620.