Firefighters' families enlist experts to probe deaths

The family of two firefighters killed battling a blaze at a disused factory have employed an international team of experts to probe the tragedy, it emerged today.

The family of two firefighters killed battling a blaze at a disused factory have employed an international team of experts to probe the tragedy, it emerged today.

Retained firemen Brian Murray, 46, a father of 15, and his colleague Mark O’Shaughnessy, 26, both from Bray died last September when the roof of a building in the town caved in on them.

Glasgow-based International Fire Investigators and Consultants (IFIC) was engaged in January and is expected to report on its findings in the coming months.

The Murrays and O’Shaughnessys attended a meeting of the joint Oireachtas Environment Committee today to reiterate their call for an independent inquiry into the tragedy.

“We’ve been to the site and spoken to witnesses including the family,” IFIC principal investigator James Lygate said.

“We’ve gathered photographic evidence and are constructing a timeline which will help us better understand how the fire developed and spread and how Mr Murray and O’Shaughnessy came to be overwhelmed by the fire.

“Our report will concentrate on the origin, cause and development of the fire and how the firefighters came to be killed,” he said.

Gardaí, the Heath and Safety Authority and Wicklow County Council each launched investigations following the deaths but the families have consistently campaigned for an independent probe.

They were invited to Leinster House to attend the Environment Committee in advance of a meeting next week with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

“I’m not coming in here looking for sympathy,” Mary Murray, Brian’s widow said.

“I’m looking for answers.

“It’s been 22 weeks [since the deaths] this coming Wednesday and nothing has changed in Bray.

“I want an independent inquiry, it is the least we are owed,” she said.

Thousands of people attended the funerals of Mr Murray and Mr O’Shaughnessy, including members of the New York fire service and representatives of Mr Ahern and President Mary McAleese.

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