| 6.1°C Belfast

Man who leapt from window to flee blaze is saved by housemate

Close

Susan McGoldrick and Daniel Calguar

Susan McGoldrick and Daniel Calguar

Escape: Firefighters at the scene in Ballymoney

Escape: Firefighters at the scene in Ballymoney

/

Susan McGoldrick and Daniel Calguar

A woman has told of the dramatic moment her partner broke the fall of his flatmate jumping from a window to flee a blaze at their home on Christmas Day.

The fire in Ballymoney has been described as a "lucky escape".

The property on Charles Street in the Co Antrim town was gutted after a fire broke out on Friday evening, with the four Romanian residents now being left homeless.

It is not yet known how the fire at the property started and police are investigating. No one was available at the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service to provide a statement.

Susan McGoldrick (39) from Ballymoney is the partner of one of the men living at the house. Her partner Daniel Calguar (34) had been returning from a walk that evening, before entering the house and being overcome by thick smoke.

Close

Escape: Firefighters at the scene in Ballymoney

Escape: Firefighters at the scene in Ballymoney

Escape: Firefighters at the scene in Ballymoney

Now raising money through a fundraiser to source accommodation and basic supplies for the residents who have been left destitute, she explained it was extremely fortunate there were no fatalities.

"Two of the men weren't at home and it was just by chance Daniel came home just at that particular time," explained Susan. "Daniel had originally invited me round for coffee that evening but because I had been up early in the morning that day, I had refused.

"He decided then to take himself off for a quick walk. He was only gone for about an hour and came back at around 9.15pm.

"As soon as he opened the door he was engulfed with the smoke. He couldn't see and couldn't breathe. He tried to go upstairs but it was impossible with the smoke. He could then hear someone screaming from upstairs. He hadn't even realised anyone was home.

"He ran out to the front of the house. The bedroom was at the front and he was shouting at his friend to jump down. Thankfully Daniel managed to break his fall."

Involving more than 20 firefighters and three appliances according to Susan, the fire lasted until early Boxing Day morning, with the entire property inside completely gutted.

"There could easily have been more than one fatality. Daniel was going to go to bed if not for the walk," she added. "His housemate was not aware of the fire at all before Daniel opened the door. I don't think he would have been aware until it was too late.

"When I saw Daniel that night I was overwhelmed. I knew how lucky we were."

With no accommodation and employment being affected by the latest Covid-19 lockdown, a fundraiser has been set up by Susan, with over £1,000 already raised.

"Like so many renters they just were not insured," she explained.

"They have never claimed benefits because they are all too proud and now they have lost everything and don't know where to start. At the minute I have gathered up clothes and toiletries, the basic things they need for the next few days.

"With the money that is raised I believe we have enough for a deposit for them. But with the holidays and lockdown, I don't know when they will be able to view any houses and so we are just stuck. People have been so generous and good donating shoes, hoodies and other things. We know we will get them on their feet eventually, but for today, they have nothing."

To donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/w7zfy8-total-loss-from-fire

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy