A COUPLE died after a fire ripped through their home with shocked neighbours saying the house “went up like a box of matches” .
Michael Hurley, who was in his 70s, and his wife Beatrice, who was in her 60s, were believed to be downstairs when a fire broke out at their home at Beach Park in Portmarnock, Co Dublin.
A neighbour said “ the house went up like a box of matches”, as the flames spread through the bottom half of the home and upstairs, destroying the property.
Yesterday, neighbours in the close-knit community left flowers at the scene.
The house “was like a tinderbox”, said one local.
“At 10.15pm someone knocked at the door and said, ‘Get out of your house quickly, there’s a fire next door’.
“They were out walking when they saw the fire. I was in with the grandchildren and didn’t hear a thing.
“By the time we got out of our house, the downstairs windows had blown out and the fire had travelled upstairs.
“We stood outside for quite a while with blankets round the grandchildren. Then the emergency services told us we could go back home.
“It’s tragic. They were a very nice couple. We’re in shock, it’s such a tragic loss.
“The house went on fire so quickly.
" Michael loved his sport and there was a lot of sport on last night.
“I think he’d have been up watching TV when the fire happened. They weren’t the type of people to be in bed at that time. They were very active. It’s just such a sad, sad loss.”
The couple are survived by their five adult children and a number of grandchildren.
Mr Hurley had worked at Dublin Airport before his retirement and was an active member of the local community, teaching junior players of the Portmarnock Squash Club.
In a tribute to him, the club said: “Mick was a founding member of the PSLC in the 80s and was a pivotal part of the growth of our little squash community.
"A proper Cork gentleman, Mick loved his pints and he loved his squash. Our hearts go out to his five children who are left behind on this tragic occasion.”
Another neighbour said: “They were a lovely couple, it’s so sad. We are all really upset.
“They had a lot of friends on the street, children who grew up with their children. It’s tragic, absolutely tragic.”
Gardaí are investigating the cause of the fire and a technical examination of the scene was carried out yesterday.