Fatal Fermanagh house fire started deliberately, police say

Man (27) arrested at scene amid search for possible fourth victim

 

Police believe a house fire in Co Fermanagh in which at least three people died on Tuesday was started deliberately.

A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the fire, which broke out in a farmhouse in the Molly Road area of Derrylin at around 7.20am.

“The suspect was detained at the scene and transferred to hospital for treatment prior to his arrest,” a PSNI spokeswoman said.

There was also concern that a fourth person, an infant may have died in the blaze.

DUP leader Arlene Foster, an Assembly member for the area, said it was her understanding that the three deceased were members of the same family.

Local sources said the family living in the house were originally from England, and had moved first to Derrylin about 18 months ago after spending some time in Co Kerry.

There were local reports of a “loud bang” being heard in the area of the fire around 6am on Tuesday.

A local source said that when neighbours arrived to try to assist after the fire broke out, they were confronted by a man at the door of the burning house who appeared to block them from entering.

Det Supt Jason Murphy said the PSNI “believe the fire, which has claimed at least three lives, was started deliberately.

“We are continuing to thoroughly examine the scene along with our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service,” he said.

Witness appeal

Det Supt Murphy appealed to anyone who was in or travelling through Derrylin prior to 7.10am to contact the PSNI.

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said firefighters dealt with “a well-developed fire in a detached bungalow” and that two appliances from Lisnaskea and another from Enniskillen attended the scene.

“The fire is now extinguished and NIFRS remains at the scene.”

Members of the emergency services are carrying out an extensive examination of the property to establish the cause of the fire and to determine if anyone else may have been involved.

The property where the fire broke out is located close to the Border between Derrylin and Ballyconnell in Co Cavan.

Members of the PSNI placed a patrol car across the long driveway and fire vehicles were travelling between the property and Derrylin to be refilled with water from a stand pipe on the Enniskillen road.

Ms Foster described the news coming from Derrylin as “horrific”.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and local community,” she said.

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew said it was “devastating news for the family concerned and the Derrylin community”.

Ulster Unionist Party MLA Rosemary Barton said there would be “widespread sadness and shock” at the deaths.