St Patrick's Day blaze kills man in his home
A HEARTBROKEN man described his grief after a fire killed his brother hours after they attended a St Patrick's Day parade.
Kieran Healy (47) died after the blaze engulfed his single storey home at Connaught Street, Athboy, Co Meath.
The dead man shared the house with his brother Nicholas, who was not at home when the fire broke out at 11.30pm on Wednesday.
The two brothers lived all their lives in the home that was previously owned by their parents who are now dead.
Yesterday, a shocked Nicholas Healy paid tribute to his brother. "Kieran was a quiet, hard-working man. He was my younger brother and our sister May lives in Canada. He was all I had. Kieran drove trucks for years and he also loved working with horses. Our late parents owned that house, we have lived there all our lives. Neither of us brothers married.
"Being St Patrick's Day, we were both down the town earlier to see the parade. Later I was in one pub, he was in another. I heard that there was a house in Connaught Street on fire, never thinking it was my own house and went up to see.
"I couldn't believe it and my first thought was at least neither of us is in it. It's a terrible shock to lose him in the fire like that, I don't even have a photograph of him left. Everything we had was in that house,'' he said.
Extensive damage was caused to two adjoining houses. Neighbour Pat Leavy (57) was rescued from his house by two local men after they kicked in the door.
Shocked neighbours described how two other men, Niall Tyrrell and Laurence Murtagh, attempted to rescue Mr Healy by going around the back of the house. Passing gardai, who were on patrol in the area, alerted the fire services but were unable to rescue Mr Healy who had been overcome by fumes.
A full forensic examination of the scene was carried out yesterday by garda technical experts to determine the exact cause of the fire. However, officers believe the blaze, which started in the bedroom of the house, may have been caused by a cigarette.
One eyewitness described the house as "an inferno'' and told how Kieran's dog was barking frantically.
"His dog was going crazy, barking and running up and down the street very agitated. It was a terrible sight to see the flames, very frightening,'' said one local woman.