“They have lost everything”
BY MICHELLE CREAN
Killarney people are rallying for one of their own this week after a local man lost his family home in a house fire in America.
Patrick Doona (35), from Pinewood Estate, his wife Patrice and children Rohan (11) and one-year-old daughter Constantina have been left devastated after a fire destroyed their home in San Diego, California – leaving them with just the clothes on their back.
His young daughter, who was at home sick with her American grandmother, was lucky to get out alive as the flames engulfed the family home, on Monday November 12.
The couple had recently moved from Woodlawn NY to California to start a new life andhad poured thousands into renovating their home, including solar panels, timber floors and new windows.
However, according to Patrick’s parents, Denis and Bridie Doona from Pinewood Estate, there has been a huge outpouring of support for Patrick and his family in both America, where he has lived for 13 years, and from the people of Killarney, as well as online through fundraising page GoFundMe, which has so far raised almost €15,000 of its €30,000 target.
His father Denis explained to the Killarney Advertiser yesterday (Thursday) that the family home is hundreds of miles away from the recent devastating fires in California which killed over 80 people, left hundreds missing and thousands homeless.
“They weren’t even in the fire zone – that’s the thing about it,” Denis said.
“Patrick is in Southern California which is hundreds of miles from the other fires.”
On the day Patrick and his wife travelled to get medicine for their baby.
However, with almost 40 degree heat and 50 mph winds – something triggered the fire.
Denis explained that when Patrick and Patrice returned to the house, which was made of timber, it was completely gone.
“I got a shock when he phoned on Tuesday last. Everything went to ashes – that was the hardest part. They have nothing left just the clothes on their back.
“His mother-in-law was in the house with the baby. She went outside to see why the dogs were barking and realised that the house was on fire. She then ran out with the baby as the fire engulfed the house.
“20 units of the fire brigade and two helicopters rushed to the extinguish the fire to stop it spreading further. The fire brigade investigation said the cause of the fire is inconclusive so he’s not sure if he’s covered with insurance.”
Bridie added that Patrick’s mother-in-law was lucky to get to safety with the baby.
“She was lucky to get out alive with the baby. Constantina had just turned one on November 6, and they had a family party days before. All the presents are gone in the fire.”
Denis and Bridie have thanked the local community for supporting Patrick and his family through the online charity page. To donate go to GoFundMe: Pat & Patrice Doona.