Donegal man rescues girl, 8, from fire

A man who saved a young girl from a house fire has said it was a blessing he had left his bedroom window open so he could hear the shouts for help.

Painter and decorator Daniel O’Kane had just gone to bed in the early hours of yesterday when he heard shouts for help at his home.

The 26-year-old smelled smoke and rushed outside his home to see smoke coming out of his neighbour’s home at Woodthorpe in Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal.

The father of two saw his eight-year-old neighbour shouting for help from the upstairs window of the adjoining house.

Mr O’Kane grabbed a stepladder and opened it up fully in a bid to reach the top window of the house. The girl’s father, Tony Simmons, managed to hand the child out of the window to Mr O’Kane, who brought her to safety.

Mr O’Kane went back up the ladder to reach Mr Simmons but he was beaten back by heavy smoke. Members of the fire service from Letterkenny and Derry arrived quickly on the scene and managed to take Mr Simmons from the house.

Both father and daughter are being treated at Letterkenny University Hospital for smoke inhalation but their injuries are said not to be life-threatening.

Mr O’Kane, from Raphoe, said it was a blessing it was a warm evening and he had his bedroom window open.

“It was a blessing our bedroom window was open because I might not have heard her shouts for help otherwise,” he said.

“It all happened so quickly. It was about 12.30am and when I heard the shouts for help, I jumped out of bed and went outside to see the smoke coming from the bedroom.

“I just grabbed the ladder, stretched it out fully and was able to get to her. I was just so glad I could help. I couldn’t get to her father but I’m just so relieved that the fire service got him and nobody was seriously hurt.”

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