Jockey leapt out of window as fatal fire raged
IRISH jockey Ian Brennan yesterday told how he narrowly escaped death in the blaze which killed his best friend Jamie Kyne and girlfriend Jan Wilson.
Twenty-year-old Ian, from Donaghmede in Dublin, shared a second-floor flat with Jamie and fellow jockey Dean Spratt and all three were in the apartment when the fire broke out early on Sunday morning.
Yesterday, he described how he got to a window and had no option but to jump to safety. "Dean jumped out head-first. I was a bit luckier -- I jumped out feet first and somebody caught me and broke my fall."
The young rider said he didn't know where the fire started, "but I know it was not in our flat. It was smoke which was coming from underneath us and we are just lucky that the smoke alarm went off."
Brennan and Spratt were taken to York Hospital for treatment. While he was unscathed, Dean broke a number of teeth and also sustained an injury to his mouth.
Brennan went on to ride in three races at the weekend. "I felt I should carry on -- it was my way of dealing with it," he said.
Members of the family of apprentice jockey Jamie Kyne were being briefed by police in north Yorkshire yesterday on the circumstances surrounding the suspected arson attack in which the 18-year-old Galwayman died.
The family were anxious to begin the process of making arrangements to bring Jamie home to Kiltrogue, near Claregalway for his funeral.
Jamie and 19-year-old Scottish female rider, Jan Wilson, were overcome by smoke and intense heat from the blaze which ripped through the block of flats in which they were living at about 2.15am on Sunday.
Earlier, they were celebrating with a handful of friends, including fellow apprentice Brennan, the arrival of their 'pool money' from a local trainer for whom they had ridden.
They were in the flat where Kyne and Brennan were living when a neighbour attempted to join the small group. The latecomer was told to leave by a young man and woman at the celebration party. Neither of the fire victims had any involvement in the argument.
Fire broke out a short time afterwards and the entire block was ablaze within minutes.
A 30-year-old local man was arrested by police on Sunday and questioned about the incident. He was later released on conditional bail pending further enquiries.
Principal of Cregmore National School in Claregalway, Joe Connelly said that the entire community would always be very proud of Jamie Kyne. "Jamie went to England and in a very short time became a serious jockey. He would have been one of the greats," he said.