Schoolboy hero recalls horrific fire with Derry couple he saved
This month marks 25 years since a 12-years-old schoolboy saved the lives of his neighbours following a ferocious fire at their home.
This week, the hero schoolboy, who is now a respected local personal trainer and businessman, met with the couple he saved to reminisce on that never to be forgotten day.
In 1994, Seamus Fox was recognised for his bravery by the Fire Service and he appeared on the front page of the ‘Journal’ and on television.
The fire gutted Kay and Kevin Green’s Moss Park home.
Seamus woke up at around 7.00am on that day and heard a crackling sound. He initially thought it might have been rain or hail, but on peering out his bedroom window he noticed the Green’s newly installed oil tank was alight.
The quick thinking youngster alerted his parents to the fire, although they initially didn’t believe him, informing him that he had been dreaming.
He telephoned the Fire Brigade before running out of the house and banging on the door to warn his neighbours.
Looking back on it, Seamus said it was ‘mad’ how quickly the house had become engulfed in flames.
And it was not only the Green family he saved. In the commotion, the Fox family also fled their home as the flames began to spread. However, they forgot that Seamus’ niece was staying over and he ran back into the house and saved the toddler.
For Kay and Kevin the fire was one of the most scary situations they experienced.
“We had just got oil heating installed and noticed that there were a lot of fumes coming out of the burner,” Kay explained. “The fella who fitted it was due to call that morning so when I heard the knocking at the door, I thought it was him but it was Seamus telling us the house was on fire.
“We were left standing in the clothes we were wearing. When we came downstairs you wouldn’t have thought anything was wrong until the front door was opened and then it was like a fireball.”
Kevin said they were extremely lucky to make it out of the property unharmed and even more lucky that family members, who had been due to stay over that night didn’t, as they would ‘never have got out of that room.’
Kay and Kevin were unable to return to their home for a number of months. When they did, Kay admits she was extremely paranoid about fire safety. “That never leaves you. I was at a meeting in town one day and the fire alarm went off. I ran out of the building so quickly and I nearly got knocked down by a car.”
Seamus said he was ‘slagged off’ in school due to the media attention and his reputation as a ‘hero’, but his parents kept all the Press clippings and put them in a scrap book.
He said the fire had an impact on him for a time, but then he took it in his stride.
“I don’t think I slept for about a year after. Every noise I heard during the night I would have been panicking something was happening.”
All three were shocked that it was 25 years since the fire.