A Crolly man said he owes his life to a quick-thinking passer-by and the Gaoth Dobhair fire service.
John Barrow did not know anything was wrong, until he was wakened early last Friday by Gerry Gallagher of the Gaoth Dobhair fire service.
“Someone was hammering on my window, saying to get up and get out,” John recalled. His house at Killindaragh, Crolly, on the N56, was filled with smoke; an approaching bog fire was within a few feet of his house. It was about 6.40 am.
“It was a close call,” John said.
A Dutch man who is a frequent visitor to Donegal and his father were travelling to catch a flight at Donegal Airport at Carrickfinn on Friday morning, when they saw the fire behind John’s house and raised the alarm. The man had also tried unsuccessfully to raise any occupants in the house.
“I was very lucky,” John said. “If they hadn’t wakened me in the next five minutes, I would probably have been killed by smoke inhalation.”
Fire service teams from Gaoth Dobhair and Dungloe brought the fire under control before it reached the house.
“The fire service do a wonderful job and it’s only when you need them that you know, that you appreciate it all,” John said. “It was bad enough me getting an early call, but a half a dozen from Gaoth Dobhair and a half a dozen from Dungloe got an earlier call to come out to me.”
John only knows the first name of the man who first came to his aid, Marcel. He was able to thank Marcel on Highland Radio yesterday, after the Dutch man rang the radio station to see if he could learn more about the fire’s aftermath. When John came into his house to hear a man speaking on Highland and describing the Friday morning fire between Crolly and Dungloe, John rang the station himself to thank Marcel.
John had already sent thank-you letters to the two fire services.
“I was somewhat traumatised and realised when they had gone that I hadn’t uttered a word of thanks,” he said. “I am grateful to them for saving my life and my home.”