Fire crew praised as woman rescued from restaurant fire

Franco's Restaurant, Enniskillen, was significantly damaged in a fire in the early hours of Sunday morning  RMG98

Franco’s Restaurant, Enniskillen, was significantly damaged in a fire in the early hours of Sunday morning RMG98

A WOMAN in her 70s had a lucky escape when one of Fermanagh’s eatery institutions, Franco’s Restaurant, caught fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Betty Sweeney, a familiar face in the popular restaurant on the Queen Elizabeth Road, escaped the intense heat and smoke as fire crew battled to quell the flames.
She and two fire officers were treated at the scene by ambulance crew for smoke inhalation.
Yesterday, her son Emmett Sweeney, manager of the restaurant, confirmed that his mother was ‘feeling good’.
“She got out all right. She was very shaken for a while, but she got the all clear at the hospital. She was sleeping in her flat on the other side of the restaurant,” said  Emmett.
 The blaze on the Queen Elizabeth Road was spotted by a passing police patrol just before 3.30am on Sunday morning.
A total of 24 fire-fighters from Enniskillen, Irvinestown and Clogher as well as several officers from the PSNI were on the scene for several hours
A police spokesman said, “In the early hours of this morning one of our crews responded to the sound of a fire alarm at a property in the Queen Elizabeth Road area of Enniskillen. Upon arrival we noticed that there was smoke coming from the building.
“We contacted the Fire Service who were quickly on the scene and rescued an elderly woman who was trapped in an upstairs flat.
“The woman along with two police officers was treated at the scene by members of the ambulance service for smoke inhalation.
“Thankfully no one was seriously injured in this incident.”
District Commander at the Fire Station, Karen Dolan, confirmed that four fire appliances attended the scene.
“One person was rescued from an adjoining flat and fire personnel wore breathing apparatus to enter the building where there was intense heat,” she said. “The investigation as to how the fire began is ongoing
Mr Sweeney praised the emergency services for their bravery during the incident.
“Personnel from both the Fire Brigade and the PSNI were brilliant at the scene and we are greatly indebted to them. We are very thankful for their help. I really can’t praise them enough for their efforts during the intense fire. They were fantastic and very professional.”
Mr Sweeney confirmed that there was a lot of damage at the restaurant, although much of the main eating area and the Garden Room escaped damage. That is a saving grace,” he said.
“It had been a busy night and a busy Bank Holiday weekend before the children go back to school. But we locked up as usual,” he explained.
The main damage was done to the middle of the building, around the wash-up kitchen area.
Mr Sweeney expects the popular restaurant to be open again within three to five weeks.
“We hope to be back in the Garden Room in three or four weeks and hopefully that will get us up and going again,” he said.
“We really have no idea yet of how much damage has been caused. We’ll probably know better in a week. The main thing is that there was nobody injured.
“We’ve had loads of well-wishers calling and sending messages of support on facebook. People here have been fantastic,” he added.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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