The Cashman family, who live in Dun an Óir estate in Kanturk, lost everything when fire broke out in an upstairs room of their house in the early hours of Wednesday.
Dad Kevin, who was woken by a smoke alarm, managed to get wife Suzann and four of their five children — 18-month-old Saoirse; Ryan, 3; Mckenzie, 8; and Jennifer, 13 — to safety.
He braved flames and thick smoke and went back into the burning house to rescue Conor, 7, who was trapped upstairs.
A manager at Dunnes Stores in Mallow, he suffered burns to his legs and was treated for the effects of smoke inhalation after the heroic rescue.
Kevin’s sister, Kathleen, said he was just happy that everyone got out safely, but she said the family have been left with nothing, and are staying with family and friends locally.
The community has launched a campaign to ensure they can enjoy Christmas and rebuild their lives.
CHRISTMAS FIRE - Young Cork family left devastated after home went up in flames in Kanturk on Wed. Family on air now pic.twitter.com/LHXM43yQwe— Neil Prendeville (@NeilRedFM) December 11, 2015
Donations of clothes, toys, food, and cash began pouring in after a public appeal for help on The Neil Prendeville Show on RedFM.
“We have just been overwhelmed by the support. The people of Kanturk have been amazing, but now we’re getting help and support from the wider community. It’s just unbelievable,” Kathleen said last night.
Cork City Hospitals Children’s Club were among the first to respond. Charity chairman John Looney said they still have toys left over following their visit to Santa at Fota House’s Winter Wonderland last week.
He said the team behind The Late Late Toy Show are also due to deliver toys from the programme to them over the coming days.
Mr Looney said the charity is liaising with the North Pole to ensure the Cashman children get a special delivery from Santa on Christmas Eve, no matter where they are staying.
“Santa asked us for the names of some special children and we felt that the Cashmans are very deserving,” he said.
“We have a contact in the North Pole who will make sure that they will still be able to celebrate Christmas.”
Joe Kennedy of the Maldron Hotel in Cork said he could arrange hotel accommodation for the family right across the festive period.
Amazing gesture from Joe Kennedy, GM @MaldronCork who has offered emergency accommodation for the Cashman family whose house went on fire— Neil Prendeville (@NeilRedFM) December 11, 2015
Murphy’s Rock bar said they will arrange Christmas dinner and among the cash donations was a €1,000 pledge from Conal Thomas, of Conal’s Tree Services.
Senior producer with The Neil Prendeville Show, Emer O’Hea-Martín, said the station will accept donations of clothes, toys, and foodstuffs at its Curraheen studios over the coming days.
Several fundraisers are planned in the days ahead to assist the family.
Nathleen’s Montessori and Afterschool Care, which Ryan attends, will hold a coffee morning from 11am and 1pm on December 23, with a cake sale later.
Scoil Mhuire secondary school in Kanturk will hold a Christmas jumper day next Thursday and the staff are organising a coffee morning on Friday. Coláiste Treasa secondary school in Kanturk is also hosting a Christmas jumper day on Friday.
The pupils of local primary schools will hold a coffee morning on Friday and a major community fund-raiser will take place at Edel Quinn Hall, Kanturk, at 8pm on Saturday.
The public can donate to a special account: 46bcdu99100800378304, BIC: BCDU IE21XXX.