Thursday 19 September 2019

Pensioner dies as fire rips through her house

The scene of the fatal fire in Oughterard, Co Galway, which broke out shortly after noon yesterday Photo: Andrew Downes
The scene of the fatal fire in Oughterard, Co Galway, which broke out shortly after noon yesterday Photo: Andrew Downes

John Fallon

A Connemara town is in shock following the death of a popular pensioner in a house fire.

Joan O'Connor, a widow in her 70s, died when a fire ripped through her house in Oughterard, Co Galway, shortly after noon yesterday.

She was predeceased some years ago by her husband Tony Conneely. They did not have any children.

The alarm was raised when a neighbour on Camp Street noticed smoke billowing from the two-storey terraced house.

The fire, which is believed to have started in the kitchen, spread quickly with extensive smoke damage.

Neighbours who raced to the scene frantically tried to contact the woman but were unable to get into the house as the fire had spread quickly.

They were hoping that the lack of response from the house meant that she had gone out for a walk with her dog.

However, when firemen and gardaí arrived at the scene they found the body of the pensioner.

Initial examinations by the emergency services suggested that the fire started accidentally.

The area around the house was cordoned off and Camp Street was closed at opposite ends as firemen battled to bring the blaze under control.

It is understood that Ms O'Connor's beloved dog also died in the fire, which caused extensive damage.

The body of the pensioner was removed to University Hospital Galway for a post-mortem examination. She had worked for a time in Keogh's Drapery in the town and was a familiar sight out walking her small dog.

Cllr Tom Welby said that locals were shocked by the news.

"She was a lovely woman and people are saddened and deeply shocked by what has happened," he said.

"She was an outgoing woman with lots of relatives and friends in the town and surrounding area, and her death in this manner is a terrible shock."

Meanwhile, a Cork Fire Brigade member was injured when he was struck by a missile after a unit battling a blaze was targeted by a groups of teens.

The incident, which occurred on Cork's northside shortly after 6pm, resulted in the man suffering minor injuries.

A gang of teens singled out the brigade unit which was battling a fire in the Knocknaheeny area. The teens later fled the scene on foot. Cork gardaí are investigating the matter.

It followed a number of incidents around Cork on Halloween night where brigade units had to respond to a number of alerts about illegal bonfires.

Irish Independent

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