Saturday 24 August 2019

Baby suffered fatal smoke inhalation before rescue, inquest told

Baby Mary Connors
Baby Mary Connors
Scene of the fire in which 10 people lost their lives
KILLED: Willie Lynch, his partner Tara Gilbert and their daughters Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4) perished in the blaze
Thomas and Sylvia Connors
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

The youngest victim of the Carrickmines fire tragedy, five month old baby Mary Connors, had likely already suffered fatal smoke inhalation injuries before she was rescued, a pathologist said.

Family members have told how the baby was pulled still breathing from the burning portacabin on the temporary halting site at Glenamuck Road. She was then placed in a second cabin which later caught fire.

Evidence was heard the baby was breathing when she was first rescued, although it sounded like she had a cold.

However State Pathologist Dr Maragaret Bolster said, on the balance of probabilities, baby Mary had already suffered the smoke inhalation injuries which caused her death.

All of the five adults and five children who died in the tragedy died from either carbon monoxide poisoning or from the inhalation of smoke and fire gases.

The remains were badly damaged in the blaze and were identified using DNA, dental records and items of jewellery.

Among those who died were Thomas Connors (28), his wife Sylvia (30), and their children Jim (5), Christy (3) and five-month-old Mary.

Also killed were visitors to the site that night Willie Lynch (25), his pregnant partner Tara Gilbert (27), and their daughters Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4).

Jimmy Lynch, a brother of Willie and Sylvia, was also visiting the site that night and also perished.

The inquest heard that Tara was estimated to be between 14 and 16 weeks pregnant at the time of her death and was carrying a baby boy.

The inquest jury has previously heard gardai believe the fire was started by a chip pan in the kitchen of the cabin which quickly filled the home with noxious smoke.

A post mortem on the remains of Thomas Connors found he had recently ingested a meal of chips.

The inquest, which has now entered its second week, continues.

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