'He will be missed' - well-liked pensioner among two dead after fire rips through home
The family of a pensioner who died in a house fire are "in shock", saying he would be "missed a lot".
William 'Charlie' Vaughan (76) died when a fire swept through his home, with another man, named locally as John Paul Flood (33), also dying in the blaze. Mr Flood was a known visitor to Mr Vaughan.
The incident happened in the early hours of yesterday morning in Tully East, outside Kildare.
Speaking following the tragedy, Mr Vaughan's nephew Patrick Dempsey said his uncle was an independent character, but was always there for his family.
"It's a loss at the end of the day. He's our uncle, a brother-in-law - he'll be missed a lot," Mr Dempsey said.
"He wouldn't do anything to nobody, he was that type of character, he would just do his own thing and that's it.
"He was always there for us, if you needed him that was it.
"Growing up, when I was young, presents at Christmas, he never forgot our birthday. He was good-natured."
Superintendent Martin Walker, of Kildare garda station, said the cause of the fire was as yet unknown, with the victims likely to have died of smoke inhalation.
He said that when gardaí arrived on the scene shortly after 2.30am yesterday, the house was engulfed in flames and the roof had already collapsed.
The two men were found dead at opposite ends of the house.
"We've preserved the scene for the purpose of finding out what exactly happened and where the seat of the fire was, but we haven't established that at this juncture," he said. "The house was absolutely ablaze and the house next door, which was adjacent to it, we had to evacuate that and close the road to facilitate the fire services.
"It's totally damaged, as well. There was tremendous heat and it ran into the house beside it.
"I would imagine that they were overcome by smoke inhalation.
"One (was found) to the front of the house and one to the rear of the house (in the bathroom)."
Mr Vaughan's brother-in-law Paddy Dempsey, who lives next door, said he had only seen the pensioner on Monday morning - he had been taking briquettes in from the front to the back of the house.
He said that "Charlie" was a talented artist, whose painting passion was of anything related to horse racing.
"Surrounding neighbours came here and were banging on the door at around 2.40am.We actually rang the guards because we didn't know who was out there," he said.
"He'll be buried with his mother and father."
Mr Vaughan's cousin Elizabeth Duggan said: "He lived there (in the cottage) all his life.
"He had a good life. He was a good artist, done a bit of painting and that. It was a shock when I heard it. We've known him all our life."