A North London pensioner who had just buried his wife lost everything when an electrical fire burned down the Enfield house in which he and his late wife lived in a flat.
Dubliner Paul McInerney, 72, who lived in Enfield’s Chase Side with his beloved wife Máire for many years lost everything he owned but for two bags of belongings and his wife’s ashes.
Six fire engines and 35 firefighters and officers from Enfield, Islington, Edmonton, Southgate, and Chingford were called to the fire at the semi-detached house conversion where half of a loft and part of the first floor flat was damaged by fire.
The London Irish Centre in Camden has provided a case worker who estimates it can take as long as nine to twelve months before he can return home.
Paul’s neighbours contacted Enfield charity TODOS Together UK.
Its Chief Executive william Stock said: “As soon as I heard about Paul’s situation, I knew we had to help. Seeing the kindness, generosity and concern from the local community has been heartwarming and I just hope it’s helped Paul to remain positive. In these situations we have to be empathetic, not sympathetic, although having experienced such loss, it’s easier said than done.
“Locally, the support has been nothing short of amazing; I’m just hoping Paul can see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.
“Whether through Todos, or personally, I wholeheartedly stand next to Paul and will do all I can to ensure we help him back into a stable and independent life.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported Paul.”
Paul’s neighbours said: “Paul laid his wife to rest just a few days before the fire took all he owned.
He really has lost everything, his wife and his home.
“He has just two bags of belongings and his wife’s ashes, he really is in need.
“A pension income really doesn’t get you very far so a GoFundMe page – https://www.gofundme.com/ 9dxvxa-pauls-help – has been set up,” said neighbours who stepped in to raise awareness of Paul’s plight.
“We are hoping people will please give what they can to enable Paul to have accommodation and to be able to eat each day,” they added.
The London Irish Centre’s Director of Community Services Caitriona Carney told the Irish World: ” In partnership with the local community and other charities, we have secured temporary accommodation to ensure Paul has a roof over his head, food and clothing.
“Our Outreach worker Denise is advocating on his behalf and supporting him through this harrowing experience, we need the local authority to proactively engage with us. ensure Paul is given the housing he is entitled to and so urgently needs.”