Sunday 17 December 2017

Missing worker's body found after coffin factory destroyed by blaze

Gardai evacuate the Finlay casket plant
Gardai evacuate the Finlay casket plant

Joanna Kiernan and Joyce Fegan

A MAN has died after a major fire broke out at one of Ireland's largest coffin makers.

The man, believed to be Lithuanian, was a worker at Finlay Coffin and Casket plant in Ardee, Co Louth, and became trapped in the building as the blaze broke out.

Flames engulfed the plant and 11 units of the fire brigade were called to fight the blaze last night.

Most staff had left for the day, but there were immediate fears for one worker whose whereabouts were unaccounted for.

Firefighters had contained the blaze but had not been able to access the building until about 10pm, when they began a sweep of the premises.

At about 11pm they discovered the body and a coroner was called.

Local councillor Finnian McCoy, who worked making coffins at the site some years ago, said the scene was "like a furnace" and that the heat was "unbearable".

He said the flames were up to 30ft high and described plumes of smoke billowing from the site.

"I'd like to sympathise with all those who are affected by the fire," he said.

Residents living close to the factory have had to leave their homes for fear of explosions, due to paints and chemicals contained within the workshops at the factory.

Patients at the Moorehall Lodge nursing home close by were also evacuated due to the risk of smoke inhalation.

The site where the fire broke out stretches across three acres, and includes a funeral home and manufacturing sheds, according to Cllr McCoy.

Irish Independent

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