Death after care home fire just a coincidence -- gardai
Published 21/08/2010 | 05:00
GARDAI last night confirmed that the death of an elderly woman after a fire broke out at a nursing home was a "coincidence".
Margaret O'Gorman (95) was gravely ill and received the last rites the day before the blaze.
The small fire started in a bin in another resident's room at the Health Services Executive-registered Lakes Nursing Home in Killaloe, Co Clare.
An emergency plan got under way at 12.46am yesterday morning after a fire alarm was activated in a patient's room.
It is understood Ms O'Gorman, originally from Toor, near Newport, Co Tipperary, passed away around 20 minutes after the facility's fire alarm was activated.
Gardai last night said they were continuing to investigate the cause of the fire.
Ms O'Gorman's family confirmed that the post-mortem revealed she died from natural causes.
"They phoned us from the nursing home to say she had passed away and informed us there had been a fire," said her niece, Peggy Ryan.
"She was very well looked after at the Lakes Nursing Home. She loved it and she was very popular among the staff and the residents."
Ms O'Gorman, who lived at the nursing home for around six years, will be buried following 11am Mass at Toor Church tomorrow.
A garda kicked down the door into the room where the fire was detected and removed a mildly disabled man.
Both the resident and the garda were later treated in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire which was contained to a single room and other crews who had been mobilised were stood down before they reached the scene.
A spokesman for the Lakes Nursing Home confirmed its own emergency plan was put into operation and residents, including Ms O'Gorman, were moved to another part of the building before the fire was swiftly contained. A carer accompanied Ms O'Gorman at all times.
"Patients were not evacuated from the building and are still resident there," he said. The spokesman added that staff were "relieved" their emergency plan had worked and the fire was swiftly dealt with but were "terribly upset" at the elderly resident's death.
A report on the incident will be sent to the Health Information and Quality Authority.