Tributes have been paid to two men who died in a house fire in Meath overnight.
Locals in Kells are said to have been shocked and saddened when they heard that the two men, who have been named locally as John ‘Boy’ Power (44) and Martin ‘Biggy’ Reilly (52), tragically lost their lives in the blaze.
Gardai and emergency services were called to the scene of the fire at Blackthorn Crescent housing estate in Kells at around 3am on Thursday morning.
The two men were pronounced dead at the scene and are believed to have died from smoke inhalation.
Two other occupants of the house, a man and a woman, escaped and were not injured in the fire.
Mr Power and the man who escaped from the house were both from Navan and did not live in the house.
Mr Reilly and the woman, who also escaped, are both from Kells.
Gardai are investigating the circumstances of the incident and the house was sealed off for investigation on Thursday morning.
The house has little external damage from the blaze.
Sinn Féin TD Darren O’Rourke described the incident as an “awful tragedy”.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who are involved, it’s a very difficult time for them and the community.
“Our deepest sympathies are extended as it seems to be a tragic incident that has taken the lives of two men,” he told Independent.ie
Fiann Fáil Cllr Mike Bray said the deaths are a “massive blow” to Kells.
“It’s a massive blow for an area to see two deaths in such tragic circumstances and so our sympathies go out to the families and the neighbours in the area.
“It’s a massive blow for a small town and a rural town like Kells.
“People are just shocked waking up this morning,” he added.
Kells Athletics Club paid tribute to ‘true gentleman’ Mr Reilly.
“It’s with heavy hearts we learned of the passing of a true gentleman Biggy Reilly of Kells,” the club wrote on Facebook.“
“Our sincere condolences to our club members Aoife and Ann-Maire and the rest of the Reilly, O'Connell family at this tragic time.
“Biggy will fondly be remembered for his Kindness and generosity to many people in Kells. He always had a smile on his face and he would never pass ya. [sic] A harmless gentle soul. Thinking of you all at this sad time.“
Sinn Féin Councillor in Navan Edward Fennessy said that he knew John ‘Boy’ Power very well and that the town of Navan is rocked with shock this morning.
“I grew up in the same part of Navan as him and I would have known him as a young lad playing football in the area, he was a nice lad, quiet guy.
“He didn’t pass any remarks on anyone and kept to himself and he was well known.”
“It’s a huge shock and I couldn’t believe it, I’d like to extend my condolences to the family,” Cllr Fennessy added.