Prayers for three victims of Leitrim fire
Prayers were said at Masses throughout Co Leitrim yesterday for a keen gardener, his wife and daughter who died when fire destroyed their two-storey home at Lisnabrack, near Manorhamilton.
The blaze on Saturday claimed the lives of Dessie McDonald (75), his wife Patsy (77) and their daughter Patricia (34). The fire was believed to have started in the kitchen while they slept.
The alarm was raised by a passing taxi driver after 2am and the house was ablaze when the fire services arrived.
Mr McDonald and his family returned from the US more than a decade ago when he retired as a bus driver in New York. The couple have two other daughters, one a nurse in Co Mayo and one in the US.
“State of shock”
Senator Michael Comiskey, who lives in the area, said: “Dessie used to love to pop into Manorhamilton a couple of miles away to do the shopping. He was a lovely man and kept a well-maintained garden.”
Neighbours Frank and Laura O’Rourke were woken by the fire. Mrs O’Rourke said: “We are still in a state of shock. When we were woken by the fire it was extremely upsetting what we saw. There were flames coming from the house. Somebody else had already raised the alarm.
“I still don’t want to talk about it, but it was very dramatic and we are very sad. We have lost wonderful, wonderful neighbours.”
Parish priest Fr Oliver Kelly, who was called to the scene, said: “The parish is devastated. They were a lovely family.” A senior Garda officer said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances.
The bodies were moved to the mortuary at Sligo General Hospital for a postmortem, which was completed yesterday afternoon by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jaber.
Supt John Furlong, in charge of the Garda investigation into the fire, said the examination revealed no indication that the three people died as a result of foul play. “The deaths were tragic and due to the fire.”
The remains will lie for prayers at Our Lady’s Hospital, Manorhamilton, between 5pm and 7pm today before the removal to the Church of the Annunciation at nearby Mullies at 7.30pm.
There will be a funeral Mass in the church tomorrow before Mr McDonald is buried in the nearby cemetery. The bodies of Mrs McDonald and their daughter will be transferred for cremation at Mount Jerome in Dublin.