Sunday 19 November 2017

Elderly man died following fire in home

Margaret Roddy

An elderly man died weeks after a fire in his home as the result of aspiration pneumonia due to carbon monoxide poisoning after a house fire, the coroner's court in Dundalk heard last week.

County Coroner Mr Ronan Maguire described the death of Sean O Hanlon, Annaloughan, Jenkinstown, as a 'tragic accident'.

Grace Cassidy of 24 Chapel View, Louth Village, recalled how she had left her father back at his home at 4pm on November 23, 2016 and was on her way back to her home when she got a call from a neighbour that there was a fire in his house.

She described how neighbours had tried to get into the house but were beaten back by smoke. Her husband Barry smashed a back window.

The fire brigade arrived and her father was found upstairs in the bathroom and was attended to by paramedics before being taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, where he died on January 19, 2017.

'He was getting a wee bit forgetful and we were in the process of getting him assessed,' she said, adding that he had not being diagnosed with anything.

Pat Gregory, Chief Fire Officer, Carlingford, said two units, were mobilised after the call came in at 6.03pm. The unit from Carlingford arrived at 6.16pm and the unit from Dundalk at 6.19pm. The main seat of the fire was in the front room and a ladder had been placed to an upstairs window. There was a lot of black smoke.

Two teams searched the house and Mr O'Hanlon was found behind the shower unit in the bathroom by a third team wearing breathing apparatus.

The seat of the fire was a wooden shelving unit which appeared to have lumps of coal placed on it.

'Neighbours made valiant efforts to save him,' said Mr Gregory, adding that one of the neighbours told him that the deceased had dementia.

Evidence was given that Mr O'Hanlon spent 13 days in the Intensive Care Unit without any clinical improvement. He was under palliative care from January 19 and died three days later.

The Argus

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