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Woman escapes house blaze by leaping from first floor window

By Angela Rainey

Published 31/03/2016

Scene of the fire yesterday
Scene of the fire yesterday
Charred furniture

An Armagh mother had a lucky escape when she jumped to safety from the first floor window of her burning home.

More than 20 firefighters were called to the blaze in Navan Court at around 8.15 on Tuesday night.

It is understood that six males who live in the area tried to rescue the 50-year-old woman, who has been named only as Pauline.

Eyewitnesses say the men, who included her 32-year-old son, attempted to kick the front door in but were beaten back by the flames.

As the blaze took hold, Pauline remained trapped in an upstairs bedroom.

The three-bedroom semi-detached house was completely gutted by the fire and the next door neighbour's property suffered smoke damage.

Charred remains of furniture such as a scorched table, burnt settee and the melted front door yesterday lay on the driveway as reminders of the horror.

The windows of the property have also been boarded up. Neighbours who have lived next door for seven years, and asked not to be named, say they are just relieved that Pauline was safe and well.

The man, in his 30s, and father to three young children who were all in bed at the time of the fire, said: "It was a shock to everyone.

"The fire was awful, but we are glad she got out and that she is OK.

"It could have been so much worse but at the end of the day, it's only a house, just a building which can be replaced. A person's life cannot. We just hope she's OK."

Polish neighbour Martina (35) said she was shocked to see the emergency services battle as the inferno raged.

"We were watching television and we heard the noise of people shouting and many people in the garden of the house," she said.

"Then I saw police and firemen arrive - there was a lot of people trying to help. There was a lot of noise and panic. It was very frightening to watch but I am glad to hear the lady is OK."

Fire investigators said the woman's life was saved because she had a working smoke alarm which alerted her to the blaze.

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