Woman dies after house fire in Ballyfermot

 

A single boxed bouquet of flowers stood in front of the charred home of a Dublin woman who died just under 12 hours after her house was engulfed by fire early yesterday morning.

The woman, identified by neighbours as Ms Rosaleen Gillespie, was found in an upper bedroom in her house at Rossmore Drive in Ballyfermot, by firemen from the Dublin Fire Brigade who were called shortly before 3 a.m.

Ms Gillespie, who was in her 40s, was severely burned in the fire and rushed to St James's Hospital.

Her death was announced at 12.40 yesterday afternoon.

The flowers were left by colleagues of Ms Gillespie's from the nursing home where she worked.

It is thought that the cause was an accidental chip pan fire in the kitchen, but gardaí would only say that the fire was being investigated by officers at Ballyfermot.

Ms Gillespie's husband had fallen asleep in the front room of the house and three of her four children were asleep upstairs when the fire broke out, but they escaped.

The children, two girls and a boy, jumped from the upper windows of the house and one of the girls broke her ankle from the impact.

Another teenage daughter was baby-sitting and not in the house at the time.

Yesterday afternoon the acrid smell of smoke pervaded the street where a garda stood on duty outside the house and four local boys looked on.

A Garda technical team had completed their examination of the house in one of the oldest parts of Ballyfermot, and local authority workers were due to board up the house, whose orange exterior was in stark contrast with the black, gutted interior.

The fire damaged the house next door and all three adjoining houses on the terrace, who were evacuated by the fire brigade, suffered severe smoke damage.

One neighbour described how the alarm was raised by other neighbours Paula and Stephen Curran, who were not at home yesterday afternoon.

"Paula and Stephen were coming home from a night out and saw the little boy Eoin hanging out of the upstairs window," said a neighbour, who did not wish to be named.

"Stephen and his friend were trying to catch him. Thank God they were there," she said. Some families only became aware of what happened when the gardaí and fire officers called to the door to alert them.

One neighbour, Mr Andy Woods, said that "at first I thought it was a black bin that had caught fire at the side of the house".

Families along the terrace were out of their home until about 5 a.m. and in one house when they returned the smoke damage was such that their dog had died from smoke inhalation.

The fire rekindled later, according to Ms Orla Kerin, who lives on the next terrace.

"At about 8 o'clock this morning it started up again at the back of the house and the flames were billowing out of the roof and the roof next door fell through."

She described Ms Gillespie as "a lovely woman and a great mother".

A post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out today at St James's Hospital.