Monday 15 October 2018

'The parish has lost a gentleman' - Tributes paid to man (84) who tragically died in house fire

His son is currently being treated in hospital for smoke inhalation

Firefighters attend the scene of the fatal fire
Firefighters attend the scene of the fatal fire

Elaine Keogh

A man who died in a fire in his home on Saturday morning has been named locally as 84-year-old Sean McGee.

Tributes were paid to Mr McGee, a local historian and skilled stone mason.

He was also a grandfather and one of his children, an adult son, who was also in the bungalow when the fire began, was being treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

Garda scenes of crime officers were examining the bungalow to try and establish the cause of the fire but a garda spokesperson confirmed “it is not being treated as suspicious at this time.”

Scene of serious fire Credit: Ciara Wilkinson
Scene of serious fire Credit: Ciara Wilkinson

The bungalow is in Donaghmore, close to the Grey Acres road in Dundalk and a short drive from the M1 motorway.

Fire crews from Dundalk and Ardee responded and a spokesman for the fire service confirmed that at one stage 18 fire fighters were involved.

The Dundalk based ambulance crew took the younger man to hospital while fire fighters searched for his father.

Initial indications are that the fire may have begun in the part of the building where the older man was sleeping.

Part of the roof also collapsed and the scene, and adjoining road, were closed off.

Neighbour Seamus Farrell said that Mr McGee “was great for stories," and said he would recall stories “from a way back.”

He said Mr McGee had been a bus driver in London before returning to Ireland and settling down.

Mr Farrell had seen the emergency services at the house that morning and said that very quickly the flames had taken hold and the blaze “was up through the roof in a couple of minutes.”

The alarm was raised just before 7am and by lunchtime gardai had confirmed that there was a fatality.

The Garda Press Office confirmed that, “A man in his 80s was pronounced dead at the scene and has since been removed to Louth County mortuary.”

“Another man (age unknown) has been brought to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The scene remains preserved and diversions are in place. The incident is not being treated as suspicious at this time.”

Louth county councillor Tomás Sharkey, who knew Mr McGee, paid tribute to him.

He said, “this is very sad news just for the whole local area. This parish of Kilkerley has lost an absolute gentlemen, we have lost a gentleman who with his family was embedded in the community for a long time.”

He said the deceased “was a talented and crafted stone mason, and he has done a a lot of work in local houses for local families all down the generations.”

He also revealed he was in was very interested in local history and was in the process of writing a book on the history of Kilkerley parish.

“We are right in Donaghmore where some of the oldest and finest examples of souterrains in the country are “and this gentleman was embedded in the local history.  He was trying to finish off his history book of Kilkerley parish and an awful lot of that material unfortunately may be lost.”

“Our heart goes out to his neighbours, families and friends.”

Cllr Sharkey also revealed that Mr McGee was involved in local politics and had helped to canvass for Sinn Fein.

“Back in the 1980’s Sean helped out when Sinn Fein was starting their political agenda. He helped out with canvassing and helped advise us on the work that needed to be done in local communities. He also helped out in erecting a local monument to the hunger strikers in the 1980s.”

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