Thursday 19 April 2018

'There are no words' - Fire victim's family 'praying for a miracle'

Biddy O'Brien remains in hospital
Biddy O'Brien remains in hospital
Locals pay their respects to the mother and children who died in a fire at Kilcronan Avenue in Clondalkin. Photo: Arthur Carron

Ian Begley, Robin Schiller and Conor Feehan

The family of Biddy O'Brien is keeping a vigil by her bedside as she fights for her life. Her cousin Joanna Moorehouse has told the Irish Independent they are praying for a miracle.

"She's [Biddy] still in a critical state. All of the family are spending as much time in the hospital as possible and we're praying for a miracle of course," she said.

Jordan O'Brien (4)
Jordan O'Brien (4)
Holly O'Brien

Ms O'Brien, aged in her 30s, was the sole survivor of a west Dublin blaze which left four of her family members dead.

Medical staff were last night continuing to battle to save her .

Ms Moorehouse also spoke about the other victims.

"We hope that the bodies will be released at some stage tomorrow, but we're not 100pc sure.

"We'll be lighting candles soon enough in memory of our family who died," she said.

Tributes were paid throughout yesterday to the four fatalities, Annemarie O'Brien (27) - who was seven months pregnant - her daughter Paris (3) as well as Biddy's children Holly (2) and Jordan (4).

Paris O'Brien
Paris O'Brien

The number of floral tributes and children's toys left at the site of the fire in Kilcronan Avenue, Clondalkin, grew yesterday .

"There are no words at a time like this," one simple message of condolence read.

Those who left tributes included women from the refuge centre that Annemarie O'Brien had been staying in with her daughter Paris.

The site was visited by Tánaiste and local Fine Gael TD Frances Fitzgerald, who described the tragedy as "desperately sad".

"Obviously a lot of people escaped from here but tragically four lives have been lost, so today we're thinking about the families and the friends and the people, the young children, the beautiful young children.

"It's a terrible tragedy this beautiful morning here and to think that four people have lost their lives and that there's another woman in hospital and it's just desperately sad, everybody's very, very traumatised by it," she told 'TV3 News'.

A number of items were removed in evidence bags from the apartment where the tragedy happened. It remained cordoned off yesterday.

In the afternoon, a member of the Garda Technical Bureau carried out an investigation of the first-floor room where the fire broke out.

Gardaí said they are keeping an open mind on what caused the fire but one line of inquiry is that the an electrical fault from a TV may be the cause.

Shortly before 1pm, a number of gardaí lifted the contents of a large black plastic bag into a white van.

Plain officers then removed a number of evidence bags from the apartment block.

A book of condolences was opened at the South Dublin County Council (SDCC) building in Clondalkin, with people arriving throughout yesterday to pay their respects.

"We are devastated at this tragic event and our thoughts and hearts go out to the families and friends of the deceased. Mother, Biddy O'Brien, remains in a critical condition in hospital," Pavee Point, a group which campaigns for Traveller rights, said in a statement.

It added their thoughts and condolences were with the families and friends of the deceased.

No funeral details have been announced for the four fatalities, who were all originally from Bray, in Co Wicklow.

Parish priest of Shankill Fr John O'Connor said the community would rally to support the victims' families.

"I don't think there's really any words that could respond to this awful tragedy," he told the Irish Independent.

Read More: Tánaiste visits scene of Clondalkin fire which claimed the lives of three young children and young mum

"I think it's absolutely awful. I was speaking to the dad of the two children earlier today and it's just so sad.

"His wife [Biddy] is still in hospital and in a bad way and we can only pray that the lord will spare her. The loss of three children is just shocking.

"I married that couple and my heart bleeds for them. They're very good and caring people and will be missed terribly," Fr O'Connor said.

"All we can do is put everything in God's hands and to console those who are bereaved."

Ms Moorehouse, spoke of the family's devastation in the wake of the fire.

"We're all devastated. We just want to know what happened," she said.

She said that Annemarie, who was seven months pregnant, was looking forward to the arrival of a baby boy.

Irish Independent

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