FORENSIC investigators are probing whether a stove was the source of a devastating house fire that claimed the lives of a father and son.
James 'Mossy' Quinn, who was in his mid-60s, and his son James Jnr perished in the blaze that tore through their home in a small Co Clare village.
It is understood that James Jnr, known as Jimmy to his friends, celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this month.
When garda forensic experts were able to examine the scene yesterday, they focused on a stove which may prove to have been the cause of the blaze. It is thought the fire started accidentally.
The alarm was raised at around 7.15am on Saturday when emergency services were alerted by a neighbour to a blaze at the farmhouse at Kiltacky More, about a mile from the village of Boston, in the north of the county.
Five units of the fire brigade from Ennis, Co Clare, and Gort, Co Galway, rushed to the scene. Emergency medical services were also sent from Ennis.
Upon arrival, they discovered the two-storey house was "well alight" and that the roof had already collapsed. Only after bringing the blaze under control were firefighters safely able to enter the building to search for victims.
Shortly before 9am, rescuers located the body of a man in an upstairs bedroom. The remains of a second man were found on the lower floor.
James Snr's wife Margaret died some years ago and Jimmy was single, according to locals. Mr Quinn was an uncle of former Clare senior inter-county hurler Gerry Quinn from nearby Corofin.
One local resident said: "This is unbelievable. I just can't get my head around it. I don't go down that road often, but everyone around here knows the Quinns. I think one of the girls only moved to Australia recently. It is awful sad."
A shocked family friend from nearby Tubber said: "The Quinns have been a well-known family in the parish for years. They are all very popular and hard-working. Mossy was a really hard grafter and was always out around the farm.
"The whole family was devastated when Margaret died and Eoin is lucky to be alive after his accident."
Members of the Clare divisional crime scene investigation team visited the house early on Saturday, but their examination had to be postponed until yesterday, when the smouldering building had cooled sufficiently.
James Snr is survived by daughters Aine, Mairead and Brid, and sons Damien, Enda and Eoin.
In June 2008, Eoin made a miraculous recovery after he was seriously injured in a fall in a stairwell at a Limerick hotel.
He spent more than a week in intensive care and several more weeks recovering at Cork University Hospital.
Locals said he was so badly injured that the family feared he would not recover.