AN elderly man is being treated in hospital following a fire at the family home in which his sister perished.
Nellie Rodgers (80) died in the blaze which gutted their home at Kerrytown, near Annagry in west Donegal, on Saturday morning.
Her brother Dan (78) managed to escape the burning building in his bare feet, moments before the roof collapsed.
He remained in Letterkenny General Hospital yesterday where he was being treated for smoke inhalation and shock.
A neighbour, who was alerted to the blaze by the sound of crackling timbers, raised the alarm and rushed to the scene.
When he got there, the neighbour saw Mr Rodgers sitting barefooted on the back doorstep, as the house went up in flames.
Fire tenders from Dungloe and Gweedore were at the scene quickly but by the time they got there the house had been destroyed.
The body of the deceased woman was found in the front porch, just inside the front door.
One neighbour who was at the scene within an hour of the alert said the house had been completely destroyed in the rapid fire.
"It was unbelievable how quickly it burned to a cinder. Even the PVC windows and doors had melted. It is a miracle that Dan got out in time," he said.
The cause of the blaze is as yet unknown but some neighbours claim they heard a loud bang before receiving reports of the fire.
A forensic examination of the scene continued yesterday but gardai confirmed they were not treating the fire as suspicious.
The local community last night paid tribute to the dec-eased woman who had lived in the Gaeltacht area all her life.
"It was the family home and Nellie and Dan would have lived there always. It was one of those open houses where you could call in at any time and be sure of a cup of tea and a welcome," said one local man.
Parish priest Fr Michael Herrity described the deceased pensioner as a "quiet, gentle woman".