Kathleen Weldon, was napping in her armchair in the sitting room of her family home in Mulhussey, Co. Meath around 4pm last Thursday, when she was awoken by her fire alarm and thick black smoke coming from her living room.
Luckily she managed to escape and ran to a nearby road where she flagged down a passing refuse lorry driver and raised the alarm.
However, she lost everything she treasured in the blaze, which completely destroyed her family home of 48 years, where she lived with her late husband Thomas and four children.
Her family say she is now coming to terms with the devastating reality of having nothing but the clothes on her back and the support of her family and community.
The radio in her living room is now believed to have been the cause of the fire.
"Gran is still in shock but realises how lucky she is," said her granddaughter Edel Kelly
"She was having a nap in her armchair in the sitting room when she was woken up by the smoke alarm and saw black smoke coming out of the living room.
"She was very much aware of letting in oxygen in case it was an electrical fire so she opened the front door a tiny bit, got out and closed it behind her.
"She flagged down one of Thornton's refuse lorries and the driver went to the house with a fire extinguisher he had in the vehicle. He did his best but within minutes of the fire services arriving, the house was in flames.
"Gran lived there for 48 years, many of those with granddad before she passed away. Her children Caroline, Noeleen, Pascal and David, her eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren would have visited regularly.
"She has lost all the pictures of her and granddad and many other memories.
"She is living with us at the minute and I think the reality is only just setting in."
Kathleen’s family are now raising funds to buy her the basics such as replacement hearing aids and glasses as well as new clothing, as well as urging people to ensure their fire alarms are working.
Granddaughter Edel said: ‘We have no way of replacing her memories but we would like to help fundraise to help rebuild her life with the practicalities.
"Kathleen worked as a cleaner in Mulhussey School for over 30 years and is known far and wide for her generosity and the community here has been unbelievable so far. We would also like to thank that man in Thornton's for his help as well as all the people in the emergency services.
"Investigations continue into the cause of the fire but gran suspects it may have been a radio in the living room.
"As a family, we realise that if the smoke alarm was not working, we could be facing a whole other scenario here that isn't worth thinking about so we would urge people visiting elderly relatives to make sure they have smoke alarms and that they are regularly checked and maintained.”
Donations to the GoFundMe page can be made