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Belfast mum's anguish over fire that left her home gutted


Damage caused to the interior of the house

Damage caused to the interior of the house

Damage caused to the exterior of the house

Damage caused to the exterior of the house

Damage caused to the exterior of the house

Damage caused to the exterior of the house

Irene Lismore

Irene Lismore

Damage caused to the interior of the house

A Dunmurry mother has spoken of her devastation after a fire gutted her family home of six years.

Irene Lismore (50) received a call on Wednesday afternoon to tell her the house on the Hornbeam Road was in flames.

At the time she was at an antenatal class with her daughter Rayanna (21) and looking forward to welcoming a new grandchild within days.

Video footage of the blaze shows large flames coming out of a window, leaving the upstairs completely destroyed.

It's understood the fire started with a faulty plug in a bedroom of the terraced property.

Ms Lismore and her two youngest children Marc (15) and Katie (14) were left with only the clothes they were wearing and are now living in emergency accommodation.

"Everybody's safe but we are totally devastated," Ms Lismore told the Belfast Telegraph. "When we took a break from the antenatal class I called my brother who told me my kitchen was on fire," she said.

"At that stage we just ran out. My daughter was shaking but said she was all right to drive.

"When we got to the house there were fire engines everywhere. When we were eventually allowed in the downstairs seemed okay.

"But the fireman asked if I was really sure I wanted to see upstairs. It was just devastating, my bedroom was nothing. I couldn't take the fact that the wardrobes had just disappeared, the bed had just disappeared."

Among the personal items lost were a wedding ring and letters to the family from Ms Lismore's late mother, also named Irene, who passed away before Christmas.

Ms Lismore's older son Gareth (26) is in the Royal Irish Regiment and his dress uniform was destroyed. A medal from his first tour of Afghanistan, however, was able to be saved. "That brought me a little bit of hope, it was sheer luck they found it," Ms Lismore said.

"People have just been absolutely fantastic, from the Housing Executive and the Red Cross, who were just like angels in disguise. They gave us wee packs of toothbrushes and clothes. It was just amazing."

Another local business has offered to replace the upstairs floorboards when repairs can start. Gareth's fiancee Demi Jackson has since started a fundraising page to help replace furniture and clothes. So far over £1,000 has been donated to the family, with a £5,000 target. "She's been absolutely fantastic," said Ms Lismore. "I was at an appointment at the Royal and it was terrible.

"I had no hair straighteners, nothing to put on my face, so Demi got me everything. When you realise the things that you and the children don't have, it's a big shock."

She said the imminent arrival of her new grandchild had given her strength.

"To be honest, that's all that's keeping be going. Otherwise, I think I would give up, honestly. I just can't wait to see her now."

The fundraising page can be found by visiting GoFundMe.com and searching for 'Demi Jackson'

Belfast Telegraph