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Derry Girls star tells of anguish following flat blaze


Siobhan McSweeney

Siobhan McSweeney

Siobhan McSweeney

Derry Girls star Siobhan McSweeney says she has been left with an "aftermath of anxiety" after a devastating fire at her home.

The actress, who plays no-nonsense nun Sister Michael, has been living out of a suitcase since the blaze four months ago.

She wants people to ditch cube-shaped block adaptors after inspectors said it caused the fire, which began next to her bed.

If the Irish actress had been asleep instead of out at the theatre, the consequences could have been even worse.

McSweeney, who lost many of her possessions and is now living at a friend's house, said she had been left "with an anxiety that something can go wrong".

"It takes me ages to leave the house," she said. "I have to go around plugging out everything and triple checking everything.

"For a long time afterwards I would wake up in the middle of the night and go round and unplug stuff. That was quite annoying for my friends, to be unplugging the TV and resetting their devices.

"Thankfully I have the best friends in the world who put up with my little neurosis."

McSweeney said the anxiety "comes in waves".

She added: "Alongside feeling incredibly lucky there is a legacy of panic. And if I hadn't been at that show there's no doubt, I have been told, that this would have been a very different story.

"It would have been the toxic fumes from the smouldering of the mattress that would have got to me first."

McSweeney was alerted to the November blaze when she got a call from her neighbour saying her flat in London was on fire.

At first she had been "utterly convinced" she was responsible, but the Fire Service concluded the adaptor had fallen slightly out of its socket and created a spark which set fire to her bed.

"If people get rid of them that will be a bonus to a dreadful thing that's happened," she said.

McSweeney is preparing to return to her role as Sister Michael in a third series of Channel 4 show Derry Girls later this year.

"They have been incredibly supportive," she said of her co-stars. "They've offered me beds and shoulders to cry on. We're a very close cast and I'd be lost without them."

Belfast Telegraph