Five weeks and five days old, Baby James Kinlan saved his five family members from a tragic house fire in Leitrim Village last week.
The Kinlan family were woken by their new baby’s screams at 2.30am Thursday morning, June 14. While father Dan went to check on baby, mother Emma Norrington sought to find out why the lights were not working. She went downstairs to check the fuse box only to open the door to a massive blaze in the kitchen. The tumbledryer, which was drying the school uniforms for her three other kids, had caught fire and set the kitchen ablaze.
According to Emma, the tumbledryer fire “blew the electrics” which included the heat sensor and the smoke alarm. The family did not know that the precautionary battery was not working in the electric smoke alarm, so if it had not been for Baby James the story could have had a tragic ending.
“Lucky” baby James, who was born on 5/5/2012 was 5 weeks, 5 days old, saved his five family members.
Emma told the paper James had only just been put down after being fed and changed and was not due to wake up at the time he did. Emma admits that she and her partner Dan as well as kids Lewis (age 13), Kimi (age 10), Amy (age 9) and Baby James are “very lucky” to have got the wake up call and to get everyone out, with no harm.
The Fire Brigade was out in less than 15 minutes and had the blaze under control in less than an hour, despite the tumbledryer “exploding” in the kitchen.
All of the baby’s furniture and clothes, including the kids toys, clothes and items were smoke damaged with toxic gases from the fire. Emma said the whole downstairs of their home at 7 Church Road, Leitrim Village was “completely gutted.”
But despite their losses, the family cannot count their blessings enough. The morning of the fire Emma met with the Community Welfare Officer and Health Nurse, the baby and kids were all checked out healthy.
The Kinlan family were then put in touch with St Vincent De Paul and “within half an hour we were told to visit certain places to pick up items and vouchers,” explains Emma.
Emma said Cox’s Pharmacy gave them bags of bottles and nappies for the baby, The Magnet, Main St, Carrick-on-Shannon provided clothes for the baby and Kellys Centra were on hand with food and goods. St Vincent De Paul also provided a baby car seat and carry cot and gave them advice and help.
Emma said friends and neighbours around Leitrim Village provided them with clothes and beds to sleep in while they were homeless. Neighbours also got out to help clean out what little belongings they could salvage from the fire.
The Kinlan family have been bowed over by the locals “kindness and generosity.” Emma and her partner Dan, who are due to marry soon moved from England five years ago to make a better life for their family. They had been living at Church Road for the past five years. The family have secured a private house in Drumshanbo and are currently moving in and making this new place their new family home.
A positive Emma told the Leitrim Observer all they lost in the fire “is replaceable,” and they are delighted to have their precious children Lewis, Kimi, Amy and five week old James safe and sound in their arms. Emma said there are lessons to be learned and the family are asking all Leitrim residents to check their smoke alarm batteries and not to leave tumbledryers on over night.
The Kinlans wish to express their sincere appreciation to everyone who has helped them over the past week, including local businesses and St Vincent de Paul.