'No man could walk away from a child hanging out of a burning building': Hero saves family

A hero taxi driver who saved a family from a burning house last weekend has spoken for the first time about the dramatic rescue.

Noel Doyle - who was passing the inferno in his car - jumped out of his cab and caught two children who were being lowered out of a first floor window.

He also broke the fall of their mother who was also being lowered out of the burning building on Shelbourne Terrace, Thomondgate, Limerick, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Noel, from Rhebogue, said: "I was heading to Coonagh (Clare) about 5.30 on Saturday night Sunday morning. The house was on fire. The front door was blazing. I just dialed 999."

The 51-year old father of one said modestly: "All I did was help those people down off the window."

Natalie Murphy, 30, and her children Courtney, 11, and Jack, 3, were in their beds asleep when the blaze broke out. Three units of Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service were alerted to the scene by Mr Doyle.

Two other adults also escaped the fire.

Ms Murphy suffered burns to her face and was transferred to the Burns Unit, St James's Hospital, Dublin after first been taken by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

Her children were not seriously injured but were treated at UHL for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Noel described how he ran towards the house and saw a man open the first floor window attempting to lower one of the children to the ground.

"The chap came to the window and he tried to get the child out of the window. He tried to open the window and then I got out of the car. He left down the two children to me."

"He left the woman until last as we thought we would be able to catch her. But she couldn't get out, so he went back up and the two of them tried to lower themselves out the window. They probably panicked. I think she was half conscious. She was half way in. He pulled her out and I tried to break their fall," added Noel.

He said he fractured his knee during the frantic rescue. His arm is also badly bruised.

"I fractured my knee. I have to go for surgery, I have to get a metal plate. My arm is bandaged, I think it is only badly sprained."

"I asked about them because they were in the same hospital as me. The children are ok and the man is ok. The woman has face burns I was told and she was transferred to another hospital. The doctors said she was going to be ok thank god.

The scene was cordoned off for a garda forensic examination but it is still not known what caused the fire.

Ms Murphy, who turns 31 today, only moved into the house two years ago. Her father Christy works for Limerick City Council.

Brave Noel said: "It's as simple as this; No man could have walked away from a child hanging out a window of a burning building. I did what anyone else would do. They couldn't get out the front door."

Local councillor, Maurice Quinlivan, Sinn Féin, said his thoughts and prayers were with the Murphy family and praised Mr Doyle for his brave actions.

Mayorstone gardaí are investigating the incident. They can be contacted on 061 456980.

KEYWORDS: Limerick fire
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