A man in Ireland watched his house burn for 30 minutes before a fire tender arrived to put out the flames. incredibly, his home is only 218 yards away from the local fire station. According to the Irish Times, "John Fitzgerald (72), from Station Road in Falcarragh, Donegal, was forced to flee his home after the fuse box caught fire." Nevertheless, he was quick to call the fire in. However, there was an unexpected delay.

Fire station did not respond to 999 call

The incident happened at around 9.30 am on Monday when the elderly gentleman was sitting down to enjoy a nice cup of tea.

Suddenly, a sound from the fuse box alerted him and he noticed the fuse box was alight. Instantly, he called 999 to report the fire in his home. Expecting an almost instant reaction from his near neighbor, the fire station, he was disappointed. As he lives so close to the fire station, he looked to see them rush out to assist him, but nothing happened.

Growing concerned, his daughter called in the emergency again. Eventually, around 10 am a fire tender from Gaoth Dobhair arrived. In the meantime, he'd watched his home burn for about half an hour. Follow-up calls established that the local fire department had not been able to attend because of regulations. Apparently, a fire tender has to have at least six people to attend any fire.

Fire officers were away at the time

It turned out that some of the local fire officers were 32 miles away in Stranorlar where they were being interviewed for posts. That left only three officers at the Falcarragh fire station. As they did not have enough people to attend to the emergency, a tender was called in from Gaoth Dobhair.

John Fitzgerald who was previously the chairman of the Falcarragh GAA Club seemed somewhat annoyed. The Irish Times quoted him as saying, "It was just lucky that a family were not trapped inside because they would have all been dead. We could have had a real tragedy."

On the upside, the story has a more positive note. His daughter was able to establish that they wouldn't get charged for the call-out.

The happier news was apparently confirmed by the fire service headquarters in Letterkenny. In the meantime, a statement by the Donegal County Council said that while the local officers were away, plans were made for the Gaoth Dobhair fire officials to react to any reports of a fire in the area.

What do think about the fire department that couldn't react to an incident just a few yards away from their base? Stay up to date with odd and interesting news by following the Blasting Pop Curiosities channel.