Electrical fault involving phone charger thought to blame for lecturer Grace's fire death

Latest: Online tributes have been paid to an "inspirational" young American woman who died in a house fire in Limerick, Monday.

Grace McDermott

The victim, named locally as Grace McDermott, who was dedicated to highlighting the importance of women's roles in society, was found deceased in a bedroom on the second floor of a three-storey house in Annacotty, Co Limerick, in the early hours on Monday.

Ms McDermott, originally from New York, took part in the Barrington's Hospital Great Limerick Run, last Sunday. As she lined up to take part in the event she posted a photo with a final message on her Twitter account: "here we go!".

Ms McDermott, a DCU lecturer and research PhD student, who previously studied at the University of Limerick (UL), ran the Women Are Boring blog with fellow graduate Catherine Connolly.

The blog showcases female-led research from around the world.

"We started the site in May, and found very quickly that the interest was there. People - men and women - were really interested and really want to hear these (female) voices," Ms McDermott said in a profile in The Irish Times in September.

The blog has reached more than 90 countries with contributions from women academics across the world.

DCU Communications replied: "Our deepest condolences, Grace was an amazing student, academic and human being. RIP."

@HerstoryIreland, described Ms McDermott as "a true inspiration".

Former DCU graduate, Aisling McDonald, wrote via @Aishaling_Mc how Ms McDermott given her and her fellow students "inspirational lectures when I was in DCU."

@_KimCon also paying tribute, wrote: "Grace and the (Women Are Boring) project was a big inspiration to me. Such a positive role model for fellow PhD students."

@AoifeRM added: "Absolutely devastated to hear this. Grace gave some the most interesting lectures I attended in DCU and she was an inspiration to us all."

A source in UL, where Ms McDermott graduated with a Masters in International Tourism before embarking on her PhD in Dublin, described her passing as "unbelievably tragic".

According to garda sources, the fire which claimed Ms McDermott's life, is understood to have been caused by an electrical fault involving a mobile phone charger.

Ms McDermott was found by firefighters from the Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service after they responded to the house fire at 3.20am, Monday.

Three members of the UL Bohemians rugby squad and a woman, who had been in the house at the time, escaped without physical injury.

Ms McDermott's heartbroken family are understood to be flying to Ireland today to help identify their beloved Grace.

According to garda sources the deceased's body has not yet being officially identified, and family members will be asked to provide a DNA sample as part of the identification process.

The detached property at The Oaks, Riverbank, Annacotty, was destroyed in the blaze.

Two units of the city's fire service attended the fire, with firefighters bravely entering the burning house in a desperate attempt to rescue Ms McDermott.

According to garda sources Ms McDermott had travelled from Dublin to Limerick with a female friend for the bank holiday weekend, and both had booked accommodation in a hotel in the city.

Only a few hours before she died, she was one of 12,000 more competitors who participated in the Barrington's Hospital Great Limerick Run.

According to garda sources Ms McDermott had arranged to stay with college friends in Annacotty on the night she died.

Members of UL Bohs who escaped from the fire were too upset to talk to the media; however, UL Bohs PRO, Tony Quilty, said: "All our thoughts are with the boys, and with the young lady who died and her family."

Local Fine Gael councillor Marian Hurley, said the local community had been "rocked" by the tragedy.

A post mortem is due to take place at University Hospital Limerick later today.

Gardaí have ruled out foul play.

Earlier:

The family of an American woman who died following a house fire in Limerick, Monday, are flying to Ireland today to help identify her body, Garda sources said.

The woman, aged in her mid-20s, was a native of New York and had been living in Dublin for the past number of years.

The body of the former University of Limerick media student was found by firefighters in a bedroom on the second floor of a three-storey detached at The Oaks, Riverbank, Annacotty.

The property was destroyed in the fire in the early hours of Monday morning.

Sources said it is believed the fire was caused as a result of an electrical fault involving a mobile phone charger.

It is also believed the fire started in the bedroom where the body was found.

The deceased's body has not yet been formally identified, and members of her family are travelling to Limerick today to provide a DNA sample as part of the identification process.

According to garda sources, the woman had travelled to Limerick with a female friend for the bank holiday weekend and had booked accommodation in a hotel in the city.

She was one of 12,000 other competitors who participated in the Barrington's Hospital Great Limerick Run the day before she died.

According to garda sources, on the night of the fire, the deceased had lost her hotel room key and stayed over with college friends in Annacotty.

Three members of the UL Bohemians rugby team and a woman who were in the house in Annacotty managed to escape the fire uninjured.

Tony Quilty, PRO, UL Bohs, said: "All our thoughts are with the boys, and with the young lady who died and her family."

Local Fine Gael councillor Marian Hurley said the community had been "rocked" by the tragedy.

Gardai, who are not releasing the deceased's name until after the body has been identified and all family members notified, have ruled out foul play.


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