Killiney Gorse Fire: “It was an absolutely frightening experience,” says woman, 90, who is forced to flee home

A 90-year-old woman who was forced to flee her home in Killiney, south Co Dublin when a raging gorse fire threatened her safety, has described the ordeal as an “absolutely terrifying experience”.

nna O’Connor told how her son John told her to pack a bag last night after he saw the flames raging over the gorse hill behind her home in Glenalua Heights.

“He just came into the living room and said, ‘You have to pack a bag, we have to go, it’s on fire and it’s getting close,'” Ms O’Connor told

The elderly woman spoke as Air Corps helicopters flew a little low overhead to put out the fire with huge buckets of water.


The Aer Corps drips water over the gorse fire in Killiney. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“The fire was further up the back of our row of houses but as I watched it I saw it coming down to the point behind us. The flames were 20 feet high. It was terrifying, absolutely terrifying,” she explained.

“I had just done some shopping and had a bag with my wallet in it, so I took it and we went out into the street where the neighbors were already starting to gather. After a while there were six fire brigades and the Gardaí up here. We could not return to our homes.”


Members of the Dublin Fire Brigade take a well-deserved break as the Aer Corps throws water over the Gorse fire in Killiney. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The gorse fire came just yards from the row of homes on Glenalua Heights and threatened to topple a rock face onto their patios and gardens, endangering the homes. It was eventually extinguished when the Air Corps dropped water from the sky and firefighters fought it on the ground.


Members of the Dublin Fire Brigade attend to the gorse fire in Killiney. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“The fire raced along behind the houses,” said Ms O’Connor, who has lived in her home for 25 years.

“We were all wondering what to do. Some neighbors put us up for the night and I had a very comfortable room with a private bathroom, but I didn’t sleep very well because of the noise and worry.

“We were all concerned about the fire spreading to homes and were keeping an eye on it. The locals were brilliant.


The view of Anna O’Connor’s home in Killiney nearly damaged by the gorse fire. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“Everyone was really helpful. It brought everyone together and I met people I didn’t know before. And the fire department was amazing. They did everything they could for us,” said Ms O’Connor, who turns 91 next week.

“I have a daughter in Australia and she is used to drought and fires but we are not used to her here.

“It’s usually very peaceful and idyllic here. Luckily we have the sea so close to us that the helicopters don’t have to travel far to fetch water.”


The scorched earth from the gorse fire near residents in Killiney. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The Air Corps made 28 drops of water over the fire as of 7:30 a.m. this morning. Each “Bambi bucket” of water holds around 1,200 liters of water.

The AW139 helicopter operated for two and a half hours, releasing 33,600 liters of water before the fire could be extinguished.

Fire crews were still at the scene this afternoon, using hoses from nearby fire hydrants and water tank trucks to wet the ground and stop flare-ups.

A firefighter said the dryness of the ground and the swirling pattern of the wind made the fire’s path unpredictable and variable. Killiney Gorse Fire: “It was an absolutely frightening experience,” says woman, 90, who is forced to flee home

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