Northern Ireland

Craigavon family 'lucky to be alive' after house fire

The fire broke out at the house in Parkmore, Craigavon, in the early hours of Thursday morning Image copyright Alex Magee
Image caption The fire broke out at the house in Parkmore, Craigavon, in the early hours of Thursday morning

A man from Craigavon, County Armagh, said he and his family are lucky to be alive after a fire broke out in their home in the early hours of Thursday.

Alex Magee was asleep at his house in Parkmore in the town, when a neighbour banged on their door to alert them to the fire at about 1:30 BST.

As first reported in the Portadown Times, the 49-year-old immediately smelt smoke and ran to the window, where he could see flames rising.

"It was a terrifying sight," he said.

Mr Magee, his wife Shelley and 19-year-old daughter Chloe all managed to escape the house uninjured.

'Fireball'

"The neighbours were all out on the street at that stage, there was a big fireball around my shed and the oil tank next door.

"The oil was running down the garden towards the house."

A breeze carried the fire into an empty property next door, causing extensive damage to both homes.

Mr Magee credits the neighbour who raised the alarm for saving the family's lives.

'Great neighbours'

"We're lucky to have such great neighbours," he said. "If she hadn't woken us, it could have been a totally different scenario this morning.

"Yes, we'll probably be out of our house for six months or so, but we survived and the rest is only time and money.

"The support of the local community has restored our faith in humanity - they've offered us everything from clothes and food, to a campervan to sleep in."

"We really want to thank them for everything they've done."

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said two appliances were deployed to the house. The cause of the fire is under investigation.