Two Irish students who died in fire to be buried in Latvia and Poland

Book of condolences opened at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Sara Gibadlo (19), from Oranmore, Co Galway, who had been a student at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Sara Gibadlo (19), from Oranmore, Co Galway, who had been a student at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

 


The two Irish students who died in a fire in Belgium late last week are to be buried in Latvia and Poland later this week.

Arrangements were being made yesterday to fly the bodies of Dace Zarina (22) from Longford, and Sara Gibadlo (19) from Oranmore, Co Galway, to their parents’ homelands.

The two Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) students lost their lives in a fire at their accommodation in Leuven last Friday, only several weeks after arriving in the university town on a 30-week work placement.


Book of condolences
GMIT has opened a book of condolences in the main Galway campus and a service will take place in the college to commemorate the two students. Details of this will be confirmed once the funeral arrangements are finalised, a spokeswoman for the college said yesterday.

The young women, who were Irish nationals and both in their second year studying hotel and catering management, had just started an Erasmus placement at the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe.

Police in Belgium are still investigating the cause of the fire which broke out in the early hours of Friday morning last. The eight survivors, who escaped using ladders with the help of residents, were later discharged from hospital with no serious injuries reported.

The families of both students travelled out to Leuven, where consular support was offered by the Irish Embassy in Belgium. GMIT registrar Michael Hannon also flew out to assist.


Building compliance
Responding to reports that the building had not been certified, the Leuven Institute said the building where the two women were staying was in compliance with all regulations and had been thoroughly inspected two years ago by officials from an insurance company.

“The building was equipped with all the necessary safety arrangements such as fire alarm, fire extinguishers and escape ladder,” the statement said.

GMIT college of tourism and arts head Cáit Noone described both women as “very talented young students” and said it was a “huge loss”.