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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Tragic dad who cradled his daughter in house inferno to be buried in coffin with her

O'Brien (29) died trying to
save his daughter Nadine's
life in a fire at their Tralee
Anthony O'Brien (29) died trying to save his daughter Nadine's life in a fire at their Tralee home
A forensic Garda team arrive to investigate a house fire at Killeen Heights in Tralee, Co Kerry, which claimed the lives of 29-year-old Anthony O'Brien and his five-year-old daughter Nadine
A young childs bike sits in the garden of the house
A forensic Garda team arrived to the house fire in Tralee.
The scene of the fire will be forensically examined later today but early indication are that the fire was accidental
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

A TRAGIC father who died trying to protect his little girl in a blaze that engulfed their home will be buried with her in a single coffin.

The body of Anthony O'Brien (29) was found in an upstairs room cradling the body of his five-year-old daughter Nadine, or "Puds" as he called her, in his arms.

Now father and daughter will be buried together in a single coffin later this week so Nadine will be "forever in her Daddy's arms", her heartbroken aunt, Sabrina O'Brien told the Irish Independent last night.

Anthony's desperate efforts to protect his daughter to the very end meant that the little girl's body was completely unmarked by the inferno that claimed their lives on Saturday morning.

Nadine's mother Kelly was coming to terms with her tragic loss surrounded by her parents Bernie and Anthony, her brother Tony and sisters Sandra, Liz and Tiffany at the family home in Shanakill in Tralee.

The couple had been together for the past nine years and were married five years ago.

She had also been in the house at the time but managed to escape when her husband lowered her from their bedroom window.

Ms O'Brien sustained a broken leg in the fall but has postponed a necessary operation at Kerry General Hospital because she was afraid she would miss the funeral of her husband and little girl.

Ms O'Brien was too devastated to speak but her sister spoke on her behalf.

"Kelly woke up when she smelt smoke but when she opened her bedroom door the smoke just flew into the room and blew them back," she explained.

Ms O'Brien then fell over one of her husband's weights that were in the room so she knew she was at the window.

Nadine was a frequent visitor to her parents' bedroom at night and regularly spent the night cuddled between the two of them.

The family made their way to the window to make good their escape.

"Anthony had Nadine sitting on the window sill in the inside when Kelly was going out," Sabrina continued.

"He had Kelly caught by the hand and was trying to lower her to the ground. He then turned around to grab Nadine but she was gone."

Mr O'Brien went back into the house to try to find Nadine and that was where their remains were discovered by firefighters.

"There was just no way he would have left without her," Nadine's aunt added. "He saved his wife and tried to save his daughter. If she was to go, then he was going with her. He was protecting her right until the end."


The family received some small comfort in knowing that Nadine died in her father's arms and wasn't alone.

"There wasn't a mark on her, she was absolutely perfect," Sabrina said.

Gardai are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire.

Post-mortem examinations were carried out in KGH yesterday and funeral arrangements are expected to be finalised later this week. The semi-detached house at Killeen Heights in the town remained sealed off last night as the investigation into the blaze continued.

The little girl, who was a junior infant at the local Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn on Killeen Road, had only celebrated her fifth birthday party at her home last week.

It is understood the fire broke out in the downstairs sitting room of the two-storey semi-detached house and blasted out the double-glazed window in the front room.

Irish Independent

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