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Horrific screams of dying woman in house inferno

The screams of a woman who died after a house fire were graphically described at an inquest into the tragic deaths of two people from the house.

Margaret Sheehan (42) was dragged from the house in a ball of flame after she was heard screaming "don't leave me, don't leave me, I'm on fire".

She died 20 days later at the burns unit of St James's Hospital in Dublin. Gary Linnane (38) died at the scene of the fire in a house on Dublin's North Circular Road on December 3 last year.

Next-door neighbour Kevin Hammond told how he had been woken by a fire alarm at about 1am and could smell smoke.

He realised it was from the house next door and when he checked, the front door of the house was open and the stairway filled with flames.

A man was standing in the first-floor window, panicking and asking for a ladder.

Mr Hammond coaxed him to jump and tried to break his fall.

A passer-by told him there was another person in the hallway of the basement. He could hear her screaming. He crouched low to go below the flames, went into the hallway and grabbed her by the wrists.

The door of the hallway slammed behind him but he got it open and jammed it with his foot and a mobile phone.

With the help of another man he pulled the woman out of the building. They used a fire extinquisher and snow to put out the flames, which had burned off all her clothes.


Mother-of-five Margaret Sheehan, who lived a few doors down the street and was visiting the house, was still conscious at the time and talking.

She later lost consciousness and died on December 23 from complications due to her extensive burns.

Joseph Linnane told the inquest how he had bought the house with his wife in 1981 and set it out in seven flats.

His son Gary, the eldest of four children, had his own house at Kew Park Avenue, in Lucan, but preferred to stay in the back basement flat at the house on North Circular Road where he acted as a caretaker.

He said Gary had almost died in an accident at the age of 16 where he suffered serious head injuries.

Mr Linnane, a businessman, who owns Littlewood Homes in Lucan, described how the house was fitted with a new fire alarm system five months before the fire.

It had fire and heat alarms in every room, fire blankets and emergency lighting in the hallway. The inquest heard that the fire had started in Gary's flat and quickly spread to the rest of the house.

The inquest was told the house was fully fire compliant and met all the requirements of Dublin Corporation. Coroner Dr Brian Farrell recorded a verdict of accidental death for both Mr Linnane and Ms Sheehan.