NEIGHBOURS and friends tried in vain to save a father after a blaze broke out at his bungalow.
Firefighters discovered the body of John Brogan (62), originally from England, on the floor of the smoke-filled bedroom of the house in Rathnew, just off the N11, in Co Wicklow.
Neighbours described Mr Brogan as a "loving father" who was very close to his young 14-year-old son Daniel.
His son, who wasn't in the house when the fire broke out on Monday evening, is believed to have raised the alarm after he returned to his home.
Neighbours said there had been attempts to break a window with a shovel in order to reach Mr Brogan, who had recently returned to the bungalow from hospital.
The fire was believed to have been a tragic accident but the extensively-damaged bungalow remained sealed off yesterday evening as gardai carried out a technical examination.
"John was very close to his son, it is not what you'd expect at the beginning of a new year. It is devastating news for the community, very very tragic for everyone," John Snell, a councillor in Rathnew, said. "He was a very, very well-liked man. His whole life was his son."
Meanwhile, an estimated €1m of damage is feared to have been caused in a fire at the Central Hotel in Mallow, Co Cork early yesterday morning.
No one was injured in the fire, with the hotel having ceased operations a number of years ago.