Man was helpless to save family from blaze, inquest told

AN inquest has heard how a Co Clare man was helpless to rescue his father and brother from their burning home.

At a coroner’s inquest in Ennis, County Coroner Isobel O’Dea returned a verdict of accidental death into the deaths of Mossy Quinn, aged 67, and his son, James, 30, at the family home at Kiltacky More.

The pair died near Tubber in north Clare on January 22 last, described by Ms O’Dea as “one of the coldest weekends in memory”.

Addressing the Quinn family at the end of the inquest, Insp Tom Kennedy said it was clear from the evidence Damien Quinn and a local man, John O’Connor, found themselves helpless to intervene as the fire had taken such a hold.

Mr O’Connor said both Damien and himself, on arriving at the scene, “tried everything, but there was nothing we could do as the flames were so strong”.

Mr O’Connor explained: “We broke a window upstairs at the front of the house but we could not get a ladder up there.”

He said that there were flames coming out the front door of the farmhouse.

The witness said he had alerted the emergency services on seeing the fire at 7.25am.

Station officer at Gort Fire Station, John Lally told the inquest: “It was too dangerous to put persons into the house with breathing apparatus as the house was engulfed in flames.”

He believed the fire commenced in the kitchen area of the house.

Mr Lally said Mossy Quinn was found in the front upstairs room and James Quinn was discovered in a rear upstairs room.

Pathologist Dr Justin Nkonge said that both men died as a result of smoke and gas inhalation.

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