Father and son die in house fire in Sligo town

Blaze began in first floor apartment and spread into second floor flat where men were staying

A father and son have died following a fire in the centre of Sligo town.

The fire, which broke out in a three-storey property on Market Street, was first noticed at about 5am on Saturday.

Sligo’s chief fire officer Gerry O’Malley said the blaze started in a first floor apartment in the building and that the victims, aged in their 60s and 30s, were staying in a second floor apartment.

They have been named locally as Sonny Harte and his son, Sean.


The men, who had earlier been out socialising together in the town, were removed from the scene to Sligo University Hospital where they were later pronounced dead.

Gardaí said six people were rescued from adjoining apartments and treated for smoke inhalation but none of them suffered life threatening injuries. The scene was cordoned off for a technical examination but gardaí are not treating the blaze as a suspicious incident.


Local councillor Declan Bree (Ind) said people in the town were shocked as news of the tragedy broke in the town.

“The victims are from a very highly respected local family,” he said. “People are trying to come to terms with this news.”

Adrian Toher, who works in EJ’s Meanswar shop on nearby Grattan Street, said many people in the town did not realise there had been a tragedy until they saw the area cordoned off. “It’s quite close to us here and we saw the fire tenders at the scene but we did not know exactly where the fire was.”

The older man, a Sligo town native, was believed to have moved into the apartment in recent months.

Sligo county Councillor Gino O’Boyle (PBP) said a friend had walked the men home, and that when he passed the building about half an hour later, fire crews were present.

“He smelled smoke and came back down the street . He actually saw them being brought out but did not realise at first who it was. You don’t think the worst”, said Mr O’Boyle.

Postmortems were carried out on the deceased men on Saturday afternoon.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland