The spirit of Christmas is alive and well after a community rallied around a Cork family who lost everything in a devastating house fire the week before the big day. A GoFundMe page has raised nearly €13,000 in just 15 hours to help them rebuild their lives and replace everything, including the children’s destroyed Christmas presents.
Una and Colin Cronin fled the house in Weston View, Carrigaline, Co Cork, with their three young children after a fusebox may have sparked the blaze on Monday evening. Christmas decorations in the hallway were burning as they ran through the back door, the children without shoes and two dressed only in pyjamas.
Ms Cronin said: “It was frightening to see it. We were all in the house at the time. I was downstairs making dinner. The power went out and there was a big bang. The fusebox by the front door was crackling and there was a small fire.
“I shouted at everyone to get out. We were out in seconds. The kids didn’t have shoes or slippers on and two of them were in pyjamas. We just ran and left everything behind.
She said everything happened so fast.
By the time we were running out the Christmas decorations in the hallway and the curtains and the panel in the front door were on fire.
"We wouldn’t have been able to get out the front door. We’re very lucky to be alive.”
Ms Cronin said she was shocked by how extensive the damage to their home was.
“Everything in the hallway is gone, its unreal, even a jacket I had hanging on the bannisters. And everything is smoke damaged,” she said.
But she was amazed by how supportive and generous the community has been to her and her family in their hour of need.
“Everyone has been brilliant. The neighbours and the community have given us so much support.”
The children range in age from six to 11 and Ms Cronin said finding somewhere safe and stable for them to stay is her priority.