Father saved lives of four others before dying in fire with son, mourners told

Christopher ‘Sunny’ Harte and his son Sean found ‘locked arm in arm’ after Sligo blaze

Mourners were told the father and son were found locked arm in arm in the flat on Market Street, Sligo after the fire.

Mourners were told the father and son were found locked arm in arm in the flat on Market Street, Sligo after the fire.

 

A Sligo man who died with his son in a fire last weekend, saved the lives of four other people in the apartment block, mourners heard on Wednesday .

Paying tribute to Christopher “Sunny” Harte and his son Sean, Fr Stephen Walsh told their funeral Mass y that the older man had woken in the early hours of Saturday morning to find the apartment in Market street filled with smoke and had immediately gone to alert other occupants of the building .

“He shouted out to the rest of the occupants to get out, he saved their lives,” the priest told some 1,000 mourners at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo.

He told how father and son were linked when they were discovered by the emergency services. Explaining that Sean had apparently already succumbed to the smoke, Fr Walsh told how his father had gone back in from the landing and had tried to drag him to safety but was overcome by fumes himself . “That’s how they were found together , locked arm in arm” he said.

Gardai investigating the fire which broke out on the first floor of the three storey-building in the early hours of Saturday morning do not believe it was suspicious. Fr Walsh said that Sean had been due to move out of the second story apartment “that very day” and had all his belongings packed.

Fr Walsh said that as well as being father and son, they were also best friends.

Sunny’s niece Charlotte Butler described them as “two peas in a pod- two lovable rogues” .

To laughter she said her cousin Sean had “lived the party life of a student for the past 15 years but never set foot in a college lecture theatre”.

She said that her uncle had saved four lives by knocking on the doors of other apartments that night and it was a consolation for the family to know he would be remembered as a hero.

The chief mourners included Christopher Harte’s sons Michael and Paul and his daughter Shelly , his brothers Harry, Sal, Vincent, Sean, Joseph, Paul and Basil; his sisters Molly, Poppy, Eva, Patricia, Martina and Lavinia.

Mourners included the Mayor of Sligo Cllr Marie Casserly and members of Sligo county council.