Fire victim removed alarm because it was ‘buzzing’, inquest hears

David Molloy (52) found dead by neighbour in bathroom holding tea towel


A man who died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a kitchen fire had previously taken out his fire alarm because it was ‘buzzing’, an inquest has been told.

Denis Kennedy told the hearing in Castlebar that his neighbour, David Molloy (52), St Gerard’s Crescent, Ballyhaunis, “wanted to stop the noise”.

Mr Kennedy found his neighbour in the bathroom of his house on March 10th last. He had a tea towel in his hand and was covered in black smoke.

Medical evidence was given at the inquest that Mr Molloy died from carbon monoixide poisoning due to smoke inhalation with alcohol intake a contributory factor.

Garda Russell Gibbons told the hearing that a fire had started at the cooker in the deceased’s kitchen – an area that contained pots and pans and was very dirty and greasy.

One of the switches on the cooker was in the ‘on’ position, Garda Gibbons explained, and a lot of items around the cooker had melted including the kettle and the main switch for the cooker which was on the wall.

The coroner returned a verdict of misadventure stating that Mr Molloy’s alcohol level had been very high, six times the legal limit from a driving point of view. He added that Mr Molloy had disconnected his fire alarm and it was wasn’t clear if he had also disconnected a carbon monoxide alarm which had been fitted.

Mr O’Connor said it was incumbent on landlords and local authorities to ensure that carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are fitted and working in all their properties.

If the alarms had been working in Mr Molloy’s house then he might have been saved, the coroner commented.