A PENSIONER who lived alone has died tragically in a house fire.
The fire started at the house in the townland of Glenkeogh on the outskirts of Letterkenny, Co Donegal, late last night.
It is understood 69-year-old Terry McDermott lived alone.
Gardai and fire service investigators began a forensic search of the house at dawn but it's understood they believe the fire was an accident.
The blaze was spotted by a passing motorist, but the house was said to be well ablaze by the time fire crews arrived.
Two Garda forensic investigators spent this morning combing through the rubble at the burnt-out cottage.
It's thought the fire started in the kitchen of the house, which is in an isolated area 3km from Letterkenny.
Local people expressed shock at the death.
Letterkenny Mayor Dessie Larkin said: “This is a dreadful incident in which a man has lost his life and the whole town is in shock.
“Everyone will be praying for relatives who have lost a loved one just days before Christmas.”
Local councillor Ciaran Brogan knew the dead man well.
"Terry was one of life's true gentlemen," he said. "The community is in shock at his death."