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Monday 1 May 2017

Three children and pregnant mother killed in horror blaze at apartment

Second woman on life-support machine
Boy (4) succumbed to injuries in hospital

A Neighbour's child after placing flowers and teddy bears at the scene of an apartment fire in Clondalkin. Photo: Collins
A Neighbour's child after placing flowers and teddy bears at the scene of an apartment fire in Clondalkin. Photo: Collins

Conor Feehan, Robin Schiller and Ian Begley

Three children and a pregnant woman are dead following a horrific apartment fire in Dublin.

Annemarie O'Brien (27), who was seven months pregnant, died along with her daughter Paris (2) in the fire at Cluaninin Cronan, Kilcronan Avenue, Clondalkin, at around 2.30am yesterday.

Her cousin Biddy O'Brien's daughter Holly O'Brien (3) was also pronounced dead yesterday morning and Biddy's son Jordan (4) passed away from his injuries in the afternoon.

Biddy, who is in her 30s, remains in a critical condition in St James's Hospital.

She was reportedly visiting her cousin Annemarie - the two women were as close as sisters, friends said - at the time of the accidental fire.

Excited

Biddy's cousin Joanne Moorehouse told the Irish Independent that Annemarie was excited about her baby boy, who was due before summer.

"We are both pregnant and I only bumped into Annemarie in Holles Street on Tuesday and we were talking," Joanne said.

"She told me she was expecting a baby boy and was really excited.

"She said she was looking for a house to bring up Paris and the new baby in and was in Clondalkin hoping that housing would come through for her soon."

Gardaí at the scene of the fire in Clondalkin yesteday. Photo: Frank McGrath
Gardaí at the scene of the fire in Clondalkin yesteday. Photo: Frank McGrath

"We're all devastated. We just want to know what happened," she said.

"We don't know why Biddy and the kids were in the apartment at that time or why they were there with Annemarie.

"We don't know what the security arrangements are, or if people are allowed stay over."

The apartment complex is owned by the Sonas charity, which provides a step-down facility for women who have suffered domestic violence at some point.

AnneMarie O'Brien
AnneMarie O'Brien
Paris O'Brien (2)
Holly O'Brien (3)
Jordan O'Brien (4)
Biddy O'Brien remains in hospital

Read more: Boy (4) dies from injuries following tragic fire that killed three overnight

Staff at the facility said they were "devastated by the tragic loss of life".

Sonas chief executive officer Fiona Ryan said: "We are currently supporting other families in the apartment complex , including those unable to return to their homes because of fire damage, for whom we are sourcing alternative accommodation.

"Our sympathies and condolences are with the relatives and friends of the deceased and all those impacted by this awful tragedy."

Last night, family and friends maintained a vigil at Biddy O'Brien's bedside as she remained on life-support in St James's Hospital.

Her four-year-old son Jordan had bravely clung on to life for over 12 hours before he was pronounced dead at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin yesterday.

Vent

Two other residents were taken to hospital as a precaution due to smoke inhalation following the fire.

An air vent at the side of the complex on the first floor was also left blackened by thick smoke that poured out of it during the blaze and windows from other apartments in the complex remained open, indicating how the smoke from the fire had spread throughout the building.

Gardaí and Dublin Fire Brigade are due to carry out a full investigation into the cause of the fire this week.

It is understood that the first fire service crews were on the scene within five minutes after the alarm was raised.

A spokesman for Dublin Fire Brigade said that a number of 999 calls were made about the blaze, with the first alert coming in at 2.33am.

"We got numerous calls in about it, which would indicate that the fire was noticeable.

"The fire alarm in the apartment had also gone off," the spokesman said.

Yesterday, heartbroken residents in the area arrived to leave floral tributes to the tragic family at the scene.

The local community was struggling to come to terms with the horrific fatal fire and people visited the scene throughout yesterday to pay their respects.

Read more: Devastating apartment blaze which killed four is second fire tragedy to hit family

Many who left flowers and teddy bears said they did not know the deceased, but felt that as part of the community they had to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the blaze.

Cards were also left, with one reading "deepest sympathies", while another read "rest in peace little angels and mammy".

A number of brightly coloured teddy bears were also placed outside the Garda cordon, in memory of the young children who tragically lost their lives.

Resident Anne Keogh was among those at the scene. "I just wanted to pay my respects, it's so sad. We just wanted to say bye," she said.

One distraught woman who attended the scene said: "I was only with her last night, I just can't get over it."

Local politicians also paid their respects to the tragic family. "I have grown up in Clondalkin all my life and this is one of the most tragic incidents to have ever occurred in the village," Fianna Fáil TD Paul Curran said.

"This loss of life in such devastating circumstances is difficult for us all in our close community to comprehend."

Irish Independent

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