Kitchen damaged by fire after power cut leads to black-out
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
A NEWRY mum said she has been left devastated but thankful that it wasn't worse after her kitchen was badly damaged by fire following a power cut last Tuesday.
With just three weeks to Christmas, the O'Hare family in College Gardens are frantically trying to get their house back into order after their kitchen was badly scorched and a number of key appliances badly damaged.
Around 1,500 homes and businesses in Newry were left without electricity at 4.50pm on Tuesday following contractor damage to a high voltage underground cable.
The incident happened as a contractor working on the Newry Street Realm project near the Canal Court Hotel hit an electricity cable supplying the local area.
NIE emergency crews responded immediately, assessing the damage and restoring all but 40 customers within two hours.
The remaining customers were back on supply at 7.30pm.
But the O'Hare family have been left reeling after their kitchen went on fire within minutes of the electricity being restored.
“I was in the middle of cooking dinner when the electric went off just before 5pm," said Brigid O'Hare.
“We waited in the dark for a while to see if it was coming back on and then my daughter went to one of the neighbours and rang NIE and they said it wouldn't be back on until around 8pm. "So I took all the dinner stuff down to my sister's house in the Meadow to make the dinner. I was away for an hour and came back around 6.30pm and there were three fire engines and an ambulance at my house.
“I couldn't believe it. It hadn't switched the cooker off because I thought the electric wasn't coming back on until 8pm."
Luckily for Brigid and her family, the quick-thinking of a next door neighbour prevented the fire from spreading as he smashed a kitchen window and began extinguishing the fire before the fire service arrived.
“He definitely saved the house from going on fire," said Brigid.
“The cooker is broke, my microwave's melted, a few of the cupboards are badly burnt, part of the worktop and my extractor fan are gone; it's a disaster, especially so close to Christmas.
“But it could have been much worse. We still have our house and that's the most important thing."
Friends and neighbours have been working around the clock to clear and re-decorate the kitchen and friends also started an online appeal to help raise money for new kitchen appliances in time for Christmas.
A spokesperson for NIE said they would not be commenting on the incident, while Shirley Devlin, NIE Customer Relations Manager for the Newry area, said contractors should exercise "extreme caution" when excavating.
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