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Taxi driver rescues family trapped inside a burning house at 4.30am

Derek Malone managed to get a little girl and her parents to safety.

The fire in Knocksedan Demense in Swords.
The fire in Knocksedan Demense in Swords.
Image: Dublin Fire Brigade/Twitter

A HERO TAXI man rushed to the rescue of a family trapped inside a burning house in Swords, Co Dublin in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The incident happened at around 4.30am as Derek Malone was dropping a fare to the Knocksedan estate in the north Dublin town, when his passenger noticed smoke emanating from a nearby house.

After initially dismissing it as mist, or steam from gas boilers, he leapt out of the car and saw that a woman and her young daughter were trying to get out the door of a burning building.

“I pushed the door with my shoulder – and it was a six-point lock door that would not open,” he told Alison Curtis on Today FM.

I instructed the lady ‘get into the sitting room’ – I was shouting.

I’d say the passenger in the car didn’t know what was going on. So I shouted to the passenger ‘ring the emergency services’. The passenger was under serious shock as well.

I told the mother ‘get to the window’, and she opened [it], and she passed the child out the window.

“The little child, I’ve never seen somebody’s face… she didn’t know what to do. She was I’d say 10 or 11, her name was Lucy.

And then I had to get the mother out, and it’s hard getting an adult out of a window.

At this point, with the whole downstairs full of smoke, he ran to his cab with the little girl, and put on the heating for her, and managed to extricate her mother from the burning building.

“And I asked the mother was anyone else in the house, and she said her husband was.

I roared in the window at him ‘get out of the house, get out of the house’. They were very dazed – I was dazed.

“It’s a part of the human species that you don’t see that often, I’ve never seen it, but it’s like you go on automatic pilot. It’s human life, and you just have to look at the situation.

“I wouldn’t consider myself a hero, I’d just consider myself human, because I think most people would do it. Although some people said to me they wouldn’t do that, they’d freeze.”

Bravery award

The father eventually left the house unaided and Malone prevented the family from re-entering the house as the emergency services arrived on the scene.

“If they hadn’t got out the window… they were screaming in the house, there was panic, and they could have been doing something else.

They didn’t know what they were doing. I suppose it’s so close to Christmas, it’s a beautiful house, and they are lovely people.

Tim Arnold of Hailo Ireland praised Derek Malone, and wished the family involved well.

He said that Hailo plans to nominate Malone “for a national bravery award”, and awarded him a Christmas bonus of €500, and €100 credit to the passenger.

Malone has said he will donate his bonus to the daughter of the family involved in the fire, but he had yet to speak to them again as of earlier today.

“I didn’t sleep all day yesterday,” he added. “I was awake for 48 hours, I couldn’t sleep at all. I had an awful cough. But I’d say the family had more of a cough than me.”

Read: Hailo about to become Mytaxi in Ireland after takeover by owner of Mercedes

Read: The new food pyramid: More fruit and veg, fewer carbohydrates (and no white bread)

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