Boston bomb survivor hero of Newry fire as he rescues three children
A Co Down man who narrowly escaped injury in the Boston Marathon bombing risked his life by running into a burning house to save three children.
Sean Smith was on a run with son Euan in Newry on Sunday morning when he saw smoke billowing from a home.
The 38-year-old opened the front door to find a toddler alone and crying in the hallway.
The dad-of-three grabbed the youngster and took her outside before running back into the property, where he found a four-year-old girl and her teenage sister.
Sean, who was a participant in the 2013 race that was targeted by Islamist extremists, escorted the youngsters from the burning building.
There was some confusion over a possible fourth family member trapped inside, and again Sean braved the acrid smoke for a third time. Thankfully, the missing man was not there.
Sean and Euan (14) had been out for their normal Sunday jog when they spotted the blaze.
"We were passing a house on Chapel Street and saw smoke coming out of the door and we realised there was a couple of kids inside when we heard crying," he said.
"I opened the front door and saw a child - who was no more than two years old - behind the door.
"I lifted her up and took her outside and told my son to ring for help. I went back inside and started looking for other people and found another young child of about four years old and a girl of about 17.
"It was very dark and the curtains were closed and the kids were still in their pyjamas. The older girl was running around frantically.
"I had to wrap a coat around my face because the house was filled with smoke.
"I just got them out and searched about for other people and waited for the fire brigade to get there.
"The girl was telling me that her dad was still inside, so I went back looking for him and checked upstairs but no one was there. I think she was panicking.
"The inside of the house was covered in thick, black smoke and the fire was coming from the kitchen. It was the early stages of the fire and there was no lights on.
"The fire must have blown the power in the house."
A short time later firefighters arrived on the scene. Everyone had been evacuated from the house thanks to Sean, although he modestly said anyone would have reacted the same way.
"I did what anyone would have done, I didn't really think about it I just ran in. I think I was working off adrenaline," he said.
"It wasn't the typical Sunday run I am used to.
"The children were checked over by paramedics and I ran on home.
"Then I got a message later from the Fire Service thanking me for my bravery."