An Irish band has been hailed as heroes after they saved dozens of people, including an eight-month-old baby and four children under five, from a house fire in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The rock band, Dissension Rising, were staying at a friend’s house when they woke to the sound of a fire alarm. The band, who are mostly from Kildare and Longford, are currently touring for six weeks in the US to promote their new EP “Retribution.” The band managed to raise the alarm and save over a dozen people’s lives.
“The families and the fire brigade involved all kept saying to everyone if we had not been there or if we had not reacted when and how we did, 10 minutes later everyone would be dead from smoke inhalation,” the band’s driver Justin Carroll (42) told Kevin Jenkinson reporting for the Irish Mirror.
Once the band heard the alarm they woke their four friends, who live in the wood-framed house and guided them through the flames and smoke. When they got outside they heard screams coming from the basement apartment where four adults and five children were trying to escape.
Justin, singer Danni Carroll (18), lead guitarist Keith Garrett (21), drummer Kian Johnston (17) rhythm guitarist Rob Higgins (20) and 57-year-old manager Dorothea Carroll rushed to help
“But we didn’t realize there was another family who lived in the basement until Danni shouted she could hear screams.
“Danni and Keith ran around the back of the house followed by myself and Mr Vasquez [the father of the family who lived upstairs].
“We could hear screaming. There were flames at the rear of the house coming through the walls.
“We were met by a woman carrying a child. Danni asked if anyone else was in the house and she said, ‘Yes, the kids are in there’," he told the paper.
“There was panic inside the apartment, which was quickly filling with smoke.
“A policeman had just arrived on the scene and the officer, Mr. Vasquez and myself started getting people out of there and handing them over to Danni, Keith, Kian and Rob, who guided the women with babies and children to the car.
“They were in shock and the babies were crying. Rob and Kian stayed with them. It was chaos.”
According to local media, 27 firefighters responded and put out the fire, at around 5.30am on May 14. It took two hours to control the blaze.
There were no reported injuries but the cost of the damage to the property and its contents were estimated at more than $445,000 (€400,000). The band, who are returning to Ireland this week will play at a fundraiser for the family who have been made homeless in Atlantic City on June 3. The proceeds from their merchandise sales will be donated to the family.
The Red Cross has organized accommodation for the family and a Go Fund Me page has been established to help them find and set up a new home.