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Irish family killed in blaze at US home

FIRE experts investigating a blaze that killed an Irish family in the US believe that smoke alarms in their house were not working.

Michael (48) and Heather Glynn (42) both died of smoke inhalation in the early hours of Saturday.

Their six-year-old daughter Tara was found dead under a bed in an upstairs bedroom where it would appear she tried to shield herself from the blaze.

Family friend Cllr Pat Daly from Ennis, Co Clare, told the Herald today that relatives were devastated by the tragedy.

Mr Glynn was the youngest of a family of six and moved to the US more than a decade ago.

"It's a big tragedy. They are all very upset," Mr Daly said.

Investigators are continuing to sift through the rubble of the family home in Toms River, New Jersey.

They have ruled out both arson and an electrical fault as the cause of the fire.

Ocean County prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford explained: "This is a tremendous shocking loss to the entire community."

She noted that the family would have had no early warning about the fire because upstairs smoke detectors had been removed.

Ms Lynch Ford added that it appeared the fire started in a plastic waste bin on the first floor.

"It appears all victims were overcome by the toxic smoke and their death occurred quickly, before they had an opportunity to escape."

Fire chiefs suspect that the fire may have been caused by the improper disposal of a cigarette.


All three members of the family died from smoke inhalation.

Assistant Chief Fire Inspector James Mercready said the fire most likely was burning for up to four hours before a newspaper carrier spotted smoke.

The stairs of the home had burned away, and firefighters had to use a ladder to enter the home through a window.

They found Mr Glynn's body in a downstairs hallway, while that of his wife was discovered in the upstairs bathroom.

Mr Glynn was originally from Ennis in Co Clare and was a former member of the Eire Og GAA club where he played hurling.

Assistant fire chief for the Toms River Fire Bureau, James Mercready said yesterday that the house on Pine Hill had operating fire detectors when a certificate of occupancy was applied for in September 2006, when the family was in the process of purchasing the home.

"This might have been preventable if all the smoke detectors were operable," Mr Mercready said.