Sarah, Ralph and Kyle Murray escaped from house fire after daughter Heidi (14) alerted family

Ashbourne family left homeless after fire ravages home say "guardian angel" daughter saved their lives

An Ashbourne family who has been left homeless just a few weeks before Christmas after a devastating fire ravaged heir home have credited their "guardian angel" daughter for saving their lives.

Last Sunday Sarah and Ralph Murray were busy getting her home ready to put up the Christmas tree up in advance of tonight's Late Late Toy Show that they were looking forward to enjoying in their home of sixteen years when their daughter Heidi (14) alerted the couple to the raging inferno that had started in the upstairs hot press.

Sarah says that "adrenaline set in" as the frantic parents rushed to rescue Heidi and their eight-year-old son Kyle and bring them to safety with brave Ralph stepping in a bid to fight the fire.

Although thankfully the family escaped unharmed, they left with just the clothes on their back and face the prospect of being homeless for Christmas.

Speaking about the trauma of the last few days, Sarah who works as an administration assistant in Cappagh Hospital said:

"We never thought that we would be watching the Toy Show in a hotel room tonight but we are just so grateful to have come out of it alive.

"Kyle has been asking if Santy will know where he is now but we have reassured him that he will still come to him.

"Only for Heidi discovering the fire when she did, this might be a very different story."

Explaining what happened on the day, Sarah said:

"It was Sunday afternoon, myself and my husband were downstairs, my husband was cooking the dinner and I was getting on with the housework, my two children were upstairs in their bedrooms and Heidi our eldest girl who is fourteen had ear pods in and she was listening to her music and she said I don't know why but I just thought I'm not going to listen to my music anymore, I'm going to watch YouTube so she took out her ear pods and she heard a crackling noise she came out of the bedroom and she was met with flames coming out of the hot press.

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"The fire started in the hot press, thought to be an electrical fault to do with the immersion so she screamed so Ralph went running up the stairs and he was met with the flames coming out of the hot press and her screaming and panicking so he got the kids downstairs.

"I got them out of the house and then adrenaline kind of kicked in and he tried putting out the fire.

"The mop bucket was up there so he tried throwing water on it and neighbours came in with fire extinguishers and they nearly had the fire under control but then it caught fire through the rafters and once the flames got up there, the insulation and things, the whole attic went up then in a matter of minutes.

"Looking back, it was terrifying, we kept thinking if Heidi hadn't had took those ear pods out, she and her brother would have been trapped upstairs, she basically saved us all. Because if your kids are inside, you'd go in after them no matter, she's our little guardian angel."

The Murray's lost much of their belongings in the inferno including Christmas presents for the children but have praised the local community for rallying around them.

"We had to grab anything that we could salvage which wasn't much and move out to a hotel.

"I'm always obsessed with Christmas, I love it so I normally start after Heidi's birthday in June I start picking up my little bits then so I had got the bulk of my shopping done so basically we have lost the Christmas presents as well, it is just a nightmare situation.

"We have lost most of our clothes but the community is Ashbourne has been unbelievable, my husband coaches down in Home Farm and the football community has been amazing as well.

"People are rallying around us donating clothes for us all, St Vincent De Paul has been so good with the hotel and helped us with food. The response we have had from people we don't even know is so overwhelming, we will be forever grateful to everyone. I don't know how we will repay everyone; we will have to have a big street party next year.

Due to the extensive damage, the family will not be able to return to their home for at least six months.

"Upstairs is all fire and smoke damaged, the house is unstable because the ceilings might come through, they are worried about the roof caving in, it is kind of breaking off a little bit each day.

"All of the floors are unstable upstairs because the water pipes melted because of the heat of the fire, the water was just pumping through the weight of the house. All of downstairs is flood damaged.

"We are trying to find somewhere to rent at the moment and in Ashbourne is trying to find a needle in a haystack but we have had a few people contact us with possible properties so we are just waiting for phone calls to come through on them."

A fundraising campaign has been created to try and help Sarah, Ralph, Heidi and Max as they attempt to rebuild their lives.

For more information search "Sarah & Ralph Murray Christmas Appeal" on GoFundMe.