Bachelor farmer (87) dies in cottage blaze
An elderly bachelor farmer has died after a deadly blaze engulfed his country cottage in West Clare.
The body of the 87-year-old, named locally as Paddy Behan, was discovered inside his farmhouse at Tonavoher near Knockerra after fire crews had brought the blaze under control and could safely enter the property.
The alarm was raised at around 10pm on Tuesday when a neighbour heard some "popping noises", which he thought were fireworks, and went outside to investigate.
He saw that Mr Behan's cottage was on fire and called another man who lived closer. Two units of the fire brigade and gardaí from Kilrush responded to the incident.
After bringing the fire under control, fire crews were able to gain access to the farmhouse where they found a body.
Members of Clare Divisional Crime Scene Investigation Unit carried out a technical examination over several hours yesterday.
Mr Behan's body was removed to University Hospital Limerick for a post-mortem examination. Gardaí continued to preserve the scene until the results of the post-mortem were confirmed.
Gardaí were able to use a fire service hydraulic platform to get to the roof and chimney area so they could be examined.
One of the lines of investigation is whether the fire began in a stove or in the chimney area.
It's understood that Mr Behan was last seen at around 6pm on Tuesday when a friend called with groceries.
"He lived here all his life and was known by everyone, he was a lovely man. I can't get over it. He had no chance of getting out by the look of it. I just can't believe it," one local man said.
Gardaí at Kilrush are investigating the tragedy.