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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Cork fire survivor gives crucial information

Blaze survivor gives key details to investigators

Ralph Riegel

Published 26/03/2014 | 02:30

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Victims: Greg Lonergan (left) died and Chris Palmer was seriously injured
Victims: Greg Lonergan (left) died and Chris Palmer was seriously injured

CRUCIAL information about a double fatality in a fire has been given to the gardai by a man who lost his twin brother in the blaze.

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The garda investigation into the flat fire in Mallow, Co Cork, which claimed two lives, received a major boost after Chris Palmer was finally able to speak to detectives.

The 36-year-old was left fighting for his life after the blaze but recovered sufficiently to be able to assist gardai by outlining his recollection of the moments leading up to the tragedy.

Garda sources said that Mr Palmer's assistance is expected to prove crucial in their probe into the March 13 blaze.

A young woman was arrested and later released without charge after being questioned about the early morning fire.

Mr Palmer's twin brother, John (36), and their friend Greg Lonergan (36) died in the blaze at the Granary Court complex off St Joseph's Road.

Chris Palmer was one of two flat occupants to survive the blaze. He was in a critical condition for almost a week as he battled the effects of severe smoke inhalation.

Gardai were unable to speak to him until now because of his medical condition. However, the information he has now provided is expected to prove crucial for gardai.

Mr Lonergan, a father of one from outside the north Cork town, was to have celebrated his birthday on March 14. However, some friends decided to stage an early party for him.

To date, the garda investigation into the fatal fire has been entirely based on forensic evidence from the scene. The young woman was arrested on the basis of preliminary forensic data.

A file on the matter will now be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The fire was initially described as accidental but gardai later said they were keeping an open mind amid mounting concern over precisely how the blaze started.

Irish Independent

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