A family of six in a Cork town have been left homeless after their mobile home caught fire - and say the blaze could have had tragic consequences had one of them not awoken to see the smoke.
The McDonagh family had been living in the mobile home at a public picnic area on the Cork Road on the southside of Fermoy.
However they are now looking for emergency accommodation after the home was severely damaged by fire on Thursday night.
Speaking to Patricia Messinger on C103's Cork Today Show, John McDonagh said they had been told by the emergency services that the fire could have had fatal consequences had they slept another five minutes.
He said his wife Natasha was ill and as a result was constantly waking through the night - which saved their lives.
“She woke up at around a quarter past one and she could smell a load of smoke,” Mr McDonagh said.
“She said to me she could see smoke coming out the front of the caravan. So I got up out of bed and looked at it, and the whole front of it was up in fire so I grabbed her and I grabbed the kids and we brought them outside the door and we rang the guards and the fire brigade,” he said.
The couple has four children ranging in age from six to two-years-old. The family had a stove in the mobile home, and early indications suggest the fire started in the chimney before spreading to the roof.
Mr McDonagh said the family have been on the housing waiting list for seven years, were previously refused emergency accommodation, and said he did not think they would be accommodated in the short term given the St Patrick’s Holiday weekend.
The mobile home had no running water or electricity.
“We're living here the last two to three years in the caravan and it was torture, misery, we went through the worst winters there and the last winter there was the worst I've ever seen, we had no other choice but just to get on with it,” he said.
Local councillor Noel McCarthy told the show that the family’s decision to locate in the public spot ‘wasn’t the ideal thing to do’, and agreed that it will be difficult to locate accommodation in the coming days.
He urged the McDonaghs to work with the Council in seeking a home.