Shock at Co Leitrim fire deaths
Members of the community in Co Leitrim have expressed shock following the deaths of three members of the same family in a house fire early yesterday.
Pensioners Desmond and Patsie McDonald and their 34-year-old daughter Patricia died when the fire ripped through their home in Lisnabrack, about 3km north west of Manorhamilton, at about 2am.
Prayers were said for the family at mass services in churches across the area yesterday.
Parish priest, Fr Oliver Kelly, said he saw Mr McDonald as recently as last week when the Sam Maguire cup was brought to a local supermarket.
“We are all devastated at what happened,” he said.
“It’s a terrible tragedy. People couldn’t believe it this morning. It’s terrible.”
It is understood Patricia had recently returned from living in America and moved in with her parents.
She has two sisters, one in Mayo and another in the US, and the McDonalds have a large extended family in the area.
The remains of Mr McDonald (75), and his 77-year-old wife, and their daughter were taken to Sligo General Hospital for postmortems.
Forensic investigations are ongoing to establish the cause of the fire, which is not believed to be suspicious.
It is understood the alarm was raised by a passer-by who spotted the blaze in the two-storey detached home, which was badly damaged.
Local independent councillor Sean McSharry said it was a tragedy for the area.
He heard the sirens going to the scene in the early hours of the morning.
“It’s devastating, such a shock for the whole community,” said Mr McSharry.
“Everybody in the area is numb. It’s an awful tragedy to happen at any time of the year, but in the run up to Christmas is awful. My thoughts and sympathies are with their family and friends.”