One of two old friends who died in a house fire in Dublin on Saturday had been bringing the other food and cigarettes as an act of kindness, his family has revealed.
Derek Mangan (72) was a life-long pal of Joe Muldowney and had gone to see him in his cottage in Lansdowne Lane, Drimnagh, when tragedy struck.
The fire broke out at around 1.45pm and was spotted by a woman visiting a neighbouring house.
She saw smoke coming from the windows and raised the alarm.
Three units of Dublin Fire Brigade fought the blaze and gained access to the house, but they found Mr Mangan and Mr Muldowney dead.
Mr Mangan’s family, from Benmadigan Road, Drimnagh, paid tribute to, saying he was “a big man with a soft heart”.
“Derek knew Joe since they were children and he looked out for him,” said Mr Mangan’s wife, Linda.
“Joe lived on his own and had never married or had children. Derek was a very caring man and had bought two coffees, some ribs from the butchers and cigarettes to bring to Joe.
“He had been down with him on the Thursday too, bringing him a meal I made and a few bits and pieces.
“They were the only two times in weeks that Derek was out since the lockdown.”
Father-of-five and grand-father-of-eight Mr Mangan had worked for years in the roofing business with Mr Muldowney’s brothers.
“It was a social visit. I think after being down last Thursday he was thinking about Joe and decided on Saturday to go again,” said Mr Mangan’s daughter, who is also named Linda.
“He idolised his grandchildren and they idolised him.
“Dad was a keen fisherman and was looking forward to going fishing again with his nine-year-old grandson Oliver, who’s broken-hearted.”
Mr Mangan’s wife added: “He was more like a father to his grandkids, and he was an avid gardener. He would do our hanging baskets.”
“We really don’t know what happened, and we have a lot of questions we need answers to.”
The couple’s daughter, Erica, said: “It’s hard to understand how a fire could break out so quickly in the middle of the day, and how two people could die.
“Dad was adored and loved by us all. He was kind, and he would go to the ends of the earth to help people.”
Her mother added: “The house was in Joe’s family. His parents lived there before him.
“He was a great ballad singer. He had a really lovely voice.”
Neighbour John Ryan said Mr Muldowney was a keen fan of traditional music and played the spoons.
“He was a very nice man in a soft and gentle way,” he said, adding that he had been in his kitchen on Saturday when he heard banging outside.
“I went out and I could see the fire brigade and all the smoke coming from the house. It happened so quick. It was bizarre,” he said.
“It’s very sad. It’s tragic, and it will have an effect on everyone on the lane.”
Gardai said early indications are that it was a tragic accident.