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National Bravery Award for housefire hero

The life-saving efforts of a Galway man who came to the rescue of three neighbours trapped in a housefire have been commended with a national award for bravery.

Joseph Cahill, who is originally from Annaghdown but now lives in Ballybane, was presented with an Oireachtas National Bravery Award at a ceremony in Farmleigh House for his quick thinking on January 12 of this year.

Speaking to the Connacht Tribune, Joseph says he went into “automatic mode” when he was awoken by the screams coming from the house across the street from his own at around 6am.

“You could hear that something was happening – they were screaming,” he recalls of that morning. “I looked out the window and could see the smoke.”

“You just go into automatic mode – instinct takes over,” he continues.

Joseph, who works in automation engineering, says once he became aware what was happening, he ran down to get a ladder from his van to help those who were trapped in the upstairs bedroom escape the blaze.

“My dad is an electrician, so we all get jobs at the weekends. I don’t know if that’s always lucky, but it was lucky on this morning because I had the ladder,” he laughs.

“I had a small fire extinguisher in the house which I brought out and gave them through the window. They were initially trying to get out through the small window, but we broke the bigger part and put a duvet over the bottom so they could get out without tearing themselves,” says Joseph.

There were a number of neighbours on hand to help with the rescue before the fire brigade arrived and got the blaze under control.

Caption: Joseph Cahill, after receiving a Certificate of Bravery at the Oireachtas National Bravery Awards with wife Aisling and baby Éabha.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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