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Two killed in blaze after 37th birthday party

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Chris Palmer was seriously injured

Chris Palmer was seriously injured

Chris Palmer was seriously injured

TWO men were killed and two were last night fighting for their lives after a fire broke out in a flat following a party.

John Palmer (36), originally from Dublin, and Greg Lonergan (36) died at the flat in Mallow, Co Cork, while Mr Palmer's twin brother Chris and Rachel Crawshaw (30) are seriously ill in Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Three of them had gathered in the flat for a surprise birthday party for Mr Lonergan.

Gardai are keeping an open mind about the cause until test results are back.

Neighbours said that if had not been for the heroism of two gardai who kicked down the door and dragged them out, Chris Palmer and Ms Crawshaw would have died.

INJURIES

The officers fought smoke to save the pair who were then treated for injuries at CUH.

The alarm was raised after a person walking on St Joseph's Road saw smoke billowing from the flat, where the friends had gathered for Mr Lonergan's 37th birthday – which falls today – around 12.20am yesterday.

Efforts were made to revive John Palmer and Mr Lonergan, but they were declared dead at the scene of the blaze.

The fire caused substantial damage to the flat and firefighters were at the apartment for more than three hours.

An area near the complex was the target of an arson attack two weeks ago, but detectives believe the two incidents are unrelated.

TRIBUTE

Supt Pat McCarthy paid tribute to the heroism of the two officers who did all they could to save all four occupants.

"They found a man unconscious on the landing outside the flat and as they were taking him downstairs they heard cries for help coming from inside," he said.

"They went back in and found a woman and managed to bring her outside.

"Despite their best efforts to fight their way back in, they were beaten back by the smoke and heat."

The complex's caretaker, Pat O'Regan, said the community had been deeply shocked by the tragedy.

"The first thing I heard about the fire was when I turned on the early morning news," he added.

"I was shocked and saddened when I heard two people had died."

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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