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Saturday 16 December 2017

Daughter visits scene where parents died in tragic blaze

Greg Harkin

A WOMAN who lost her parents and her sister in a horrific house fire has left a simple bunch of flowers outside the family home.

Dessie McDonald (75), his wife Patsy (77) and their daughter Patricia (34) all died when a fire swept through their home in the early hours of Saturday morning.

As another daughter, Joanne, made her way home from New York last night, a third daughter, Jennifer, paid a visit to the gutted family home at Lisnabrack, a mile outside Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim.

Garda forensic experts spent a second day sifting through charred rubble at the scene of the fire.

They believe the fire began in the kitchen of the house and spread quickly through the building. The alarm was raised by a passing taxi driver but, by then, the two-storey country home was well alight.

Jennifer, a nurse based in Castlebar, had visited the scene to see for herself the damage left by the fire.

"Dessie and his family were just the most solid, nice and lovely people," said family friend Oliver Haslette.

Mr McDonald had returned to his native Leitrim more than a decade ago after spending his life working as a bus driver in New York.

"They were good Irish people who never forgot their roots and he always said he would return home, and that's what he did when he retired," said Mr Haslette.

"The whole area is still devastated after the death of Ciara Pugsley in September, and to lose three people like this in such tragic circumstances has cast a dark cloud over the entire area."

Neighbour Laura O'Rourke said the fire had taken hold very quickly. "I ran out and a taxi driver was outside the house. He had already called the fire brigade," she said.


A post-mortem examination of the three bodies by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jaber concluded yesterday.

Supt John Furlong, in charge of the garda investigation into the fire, said that the examination revealed no signs that the three people died of foul play.

The remains of all three will lie for prayers at Our Lady's Hospital, Manorhamilton, between 5pm and 7pm today before the removal to the Church of the Annunciation at nearby Mullies at 7.30pm.

There will be a funeral Mass in the church tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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