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Family overwhelmed by community response following house fire in Armagh

'Ardmore is a rare example, a dying breed in this country, of a place where neighbours are always accepting and looking out for one another'

An Armagh family who lost all of their possessions and their home after it was gutted by fire at the weekend say they have been “overwhelmed” by the support of the local community.

Hugh and Josephine McSorley and their family lost everything in the blaze, which devastated two neighbouring properties and a number of vehicles.

The fire took hold at Ardmore Avenue shortly before tea-time on Sunday. Firefighters battled for hours to bring it under control.

Fortunately – and miraculously – there were no reports of any injuries.

And the quick-thinking actions and bravery of local man Martin Kelly saw a family dog belonging to the McSorleys being plucked to safety too.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s devastating fire, Armagh I launched a JustGiving appeal to help the two families who had lost so much.

As of tonight (Tuesday), a total of £4,405 has so far been raised by close to 200 donors who wanted to do what they could to help at this dreadful and difficult time.

The offers of help and kindness have moved the McSorley family immensely.

Speaking to Armagh I, they said: “After a tough couple of days, we would like to express that we have been overwhelmed by the support and kindness of the Armagh community, family, friends, neighbours, local businesses and charities.

“We would like to thank the bravery and professionalism of the Northern Ireland Fire Rescue Service, that worked so hard to save our home. They went above and beyond the call of duty, and are a credit to our community.

“The PSNI, paramedics and in particular Aidan for the care and support they provided our family. Also to all the local councillors, priests and ministers who have been so generous in their concern and support.

“We’re also more than grateful to the person that rescued our family dog, Ronnie.

“We have lost our family home of 34 years that has given us so many wonderful memories, but home is where we are all together and thankfully we are all still here to make new memories.

“The ongoing support has given us the strength to help us cope at this difficult time.

“Finally our thoughts and prayers are also with our neighbours who have been affected by this terrible event.”

Anyone who wishes to do so can still donate on the JustGiving link here, with all proceeds going directly to those whose lives have been turned upside down.

A fundraising campaign set up in the aftermath of Sunday’s fire has so far raised almost £7,000. You can donate here.

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