The distraught dad of an Ashbourne family who are facing the prospect of living in a hotel over Christmas, after a fire gutted their Deerpark home has told Meath Live that an electric coil overheating in the immersion was the cause of what was a near tragedy.
Ralph Murray, (51), wife Sarah (40), daughter Heidi (14), and son Kyle(8) were extremely fortunate to escape the blazing inferno that razed their home to the ground on Sunday, November 21st.
Ralph told Meath Live, ‘A forensic engineer spent five hours checking everything out this week and that is the conclusion he has come too.
‘Whatever caused it we were very lucky things didn’t end up far worse ’.
The Dubliner, a football coach with legendary schoolboy side, Home Farm, recalled how close the calamity came to being a disaster.
‘Heidi was the real hero of the hour, I was cooking the Sunday dinner Sarah was doing the laundry and Heidi was in her room and had her headphones on listening to music when for some reason she took them off as she was going on to the YouTube website.
‘Thanks be to God she did because she heard a crackling noise, which if she had kept them on she would not have done.
‘At first, she thought it was Kyle messing around trying to frighten her but when she opened her room door she was confronted with a massive blaze at the hot press.’
‘She started screaming, ‘Fire’, at the tp of her voice and I went flying upstairs to be confronted by the flames, panic set in but it was a kind of out of body experience, I got everyone out and started thinking of how we had spent sixteen years paying off the mortgage and wondering how could I save the house.
‘At this stage, neighbours came round with fire extinguishers but the flames caught hold in the insulating in the attic and we had an inferno, so we had to get out fast, to be fair to the fire brigade they got there pretty quickly but at the time it seemed like it took them hours.
The family are now staying in the Ashbourne Court hotel and Ralph recollected the heartbreaking moment when everything came flooding back.
‘A fire alarm went off in the hotel and Kyle broke down in tears because it reminded him of what happened, and I was close to breaking down myself when he said to me, ‘Dad is Santa still going to come will he know where to find us’, that hit a raw nerve but yes Santa will still deliver on Christmas Eve.’
Ralph is full of praise for the way the local community has rallied round, saying, ‘I don’t like singling people out but Joe Bonner, the councillor, Gaye Riordan, Miriam McManus, and Siobhan Fungs efforts will stay with me forever.
‘But honestly, Heidi can’t be praised enough she kept the head and alerted us all to the problem, if she hadn’t ?, well I think everyone knows the probable answer to that.’
Donations to a fundraiser can be made here; https://www.gofundme.com/f/sarah-ralph-murray-christmas-appeal?qid=121436e737f3480e5ff306c0d0de20c7