|Photo: Donegal Democrat|
Twenty six years ago today, I stood outside a house in Letterkenny. It was the home of my school friend Sharon. She lived there with her parents, sister and five brothers. As was usual for a Saturday morning in 1986, I had been on my way to the swimming pool, but I took a detour. A huge amount of smoke had been billowing into the sky, and I knew that something, somewhere was on fire. I remember fire engines, and just one empty ambulance. I had stood outside a burning house before, but no one had died. Listening to the adults and the emergency personnel I gathered that some survivors had already been taken away. Soon I began to realise that that my friend Sharon was probably dead, as "the word was" that "adults and some of the boys" had escaped. Sharon (14), Joanne (11), Adrian (3), twenty month old Kevin, and their 25 year cousin Noreen died on that terrible morning of April 26th 1986. The parents and three brothers survived. It was a traumatic day.