A fire which killed a pensioner in her flat in the Ards Peninsula in Co Down may have been caused by a lit candle or a cigarette, it emerged today.
The 80-year-old woman died last night when her ground floor flat caught alight in High Street in Portaferry, which overlooks Strangford Lough.
Assistant Area Commander Alan Fulford said it appeared the fire had been smouldering for some time.
“The alarm was raised at around 8.15pm last night by a member of the public using a mobile phone,” he said.
“We were at the scene within five minutes.
“The flat did have a fire alarm fitted and there were reports of an alarm being sounded about an hour before we were alerted to it.
“Nobody managed to locate where it was coming from.
“When we got there the fire was going for at least an hour.”
Police were due to carry out a forensic examination of the scene of the blaze at daylight.
However, Mr Fulford said there were two possibilities for what may have caused the fire.
“We are pretty sure the fire was accidental and are waiting for the report from the PSNI,” he said.
“But it is possible that it could have been caused by a cigarette or a candle.”
Mr Fulford said the victim was known to many of the fire-fighters.
“Obviously Portaferry is a small place and everybody knows everybody,” he said.
“The woman was known personally to our crew.
“A tragedy like this clearly has an impact on the people of Portaferry.”