Town 'numb' over women fire deaths
Two sisters have been killed in a house fire as they slept together in a bed.
The blaze broke out in a semi-detached house on the Ceanann View estate in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
The alarm was raised when a man managed to escape from the property shortly after 11am today.
The victims have been named locally as Anngeline Brogan, 28, and her sister Jolene, 24.
The women, daughters of Frank and Mary Brogan, are from a large, well-known family in the town and are both said to be mothers.
Councillor Jimmy Kavanagh said people in the town are in shock.
"Something like this is unthinkable," he said. "It's terrible."
It is understood the man woke in a bedroom in the back of the house and tried to get the women out of the room, but was beaten back by smoke and flames. He escaped without any injury.
Gardai are investigating the cause of the fire, which is not believed to be suspicious.
Donegal Fire Brigade said two rooms had been on fire - a downstairs sitting room and a bedroom above.
"The fire appears to have happened in the downstairs room and went through the ceiling where the girls were sleeping," said a spokesman.
Three units of the fire brigade were on the scene within minutes of the alarm being raised and found both women in the upstairs room.
One of the sisters died at the scene and the second was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Both suffered extensive burns.
Former Fianna Fail minister James McDaid, the local GP, was called to the scene by the emergency services.
He said was shocked by the incident, adding: "It was just a horrific scene."
Mayor of Letterkenny Pascal Blake said the community was devastated and would rally around the family in the weeks to come.
"People are just shocked and devastated at this tragedy on the third day into the new year, it should be bright and prosperous for everyone," he said.
"The community is just stunned. These two young women had their full lives to live. My thoughts and prayers are with the family."
Councillor Ciaran Brogan - no relation to the women - said: "Everybody is devastated, to be honest. They are a well-known family in the town. Everyone is just numb. It's just so sad at the start of the new year."