Two men were being hailed as heroes last night (Thursday) after they rescued their elderly father from a house fire which authorities now believe was started deliberately.
One of the men, believed to be brothers, and their 86-year-old father were hospitalised following the suspicious blaze at Gort Road, Corofin, Co Clare.
The alarm was raised at around 8.15am when thick black smoke and flames were spotted at the front of the semi-detached home. The two side-by-side homes are owned by members of the same family.
Patrick Brosnan was opening the nearby church at the time while his brother Thomas was on his way to work when they were alerted to the fire. The men arrived at the house to find a blaze in the porch area while their father was trapped inside.
It’s understood there was no fire damage inside that house which did sustain heavy smoke damage. The blaze was confined to the front door and porch area.
The brothers managed to get into the house and bring their father to safety however Thomas was badly affected by the smoke.
Gardaí, the fire brigade and the ambulance service were also alerted to the incident which was reported as a house fire with people still inside.
On arrival at the scene, emergency services found William and Patrick suffering from serious smoke inhalation. Thomas Brosnan was left blackened by soot but was otherwise uninjured.
Fire services first responders, including a qualified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) administered oxygen to both casualties until ambulance paramedics arrived.
After being treated and assessed at the scene by paramedics, William and Patrick were taken by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick for treatment. Thomas was also assessed but didn’t require hospitalisation.
Locals were left shocked by the incident.
“I don’t why anyone who do something like that. It does look very suspicious. They are lovely neighbours who never bothered anyone ever,” one man said.
A local woman said: “All I saw was black smoke and before long the guards and fire brigade were here. I saw Willie sitting down in the garden and looked to be in a bad way. Another man looked fairly shaken and was covered in soot.”
Gardaí are investigating the cause of the blaze which is being treated as suspicious. It’s understood fire crews and gardaí detected evidence of an accelerant at the scene.
The scene was sealed off pending completion of a forensic examination.
A Garda removed bags of evidence from the scene while a spokesman confirmed the fire is being treated as ‘suspicious.’