Tralee building collapse: Man who died named locally

It is believed a chimney section of the structure fell, trapping the man under the rubble. Five other people were also injured
Tralee building collapse: Man who died named locally

The scene of the partial building collapse on Ashe Street, Tralee. Picture: Domnick Walsh 

A man in his 60s has died and five others have been injured after a building partially collapsed in Tralee, Co Kerry.

The man who died has been named locally as Tom Ross, a married man and the father of an adult family. 

Mr Ross, aged 68, was originally from Tralee and was living in nearby Fenit. He was a well-known builder locally.

The internal collapse happened shortly after 8am today in a building that is undergoing renovation works.

It's believed a chimney section of the structure fell, trapping the man under the rubble.

The Mayor of Tralee Terry O'Brien has spoken of a sense of shock in the town.

Mr O’Brien said the deceased man was very well known and respected and that the tragedy was particularly sad in the run-up to Christmas.

“We are very sad here in Tralee. We are shocked at what has happened in the middle of our town.” 

Mr O'Brien told the PA news agency: “Obviously it’s a sad way to wake up on a Saturday morning, to hear about this tragedy in our town centre.

“I would know the individual who died, a very well respected individual. Himself and his family are well known in this trade and would be respected.

“At this time of year, coming up to Christmas, there’s never a good time but coming up to Christmas is particularly hard.

“It will be very tough on his family. We’re also thinking about the five individuals who are in hospital at the moment."

A number of units of the fire service attended the scene along with ambulances and gardaí. 

Local Independent Councillor Sam Locke said: “His demise is going to be a loss not alone to Tralee but to all of Kerry and indeed the construction industry.

“He worked on Upper Castle Street, where those old buildings were falling down and caused the closure of that part of the town.

“It’s down to his hard work and skill that that part of the town is now open. He’ll be a sad loss to the construction industry and a sad loss to Tralee.”

Fianna Fáil Councillor Johnnie Wall said: “Every time of year this is a tragedy, but especially at this time of year, coming up to Christmas. My thoughts are with the family of the deceased and all those who are injured.”

In a statement, Gardaí said they attended the scene of the workplace accident at Ashe Street, Tralee.

"A male in his 60s was pronounced dead at the scene," gardaí said. 

"Five further males (ages unknown) were also injured during the incident. 

"They have been taken to University Hospital Kerry where they are being treated for their injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening.

"The Health and Safety Authority and local coroner have been notified," the garda statement added.

It's understood some of the injured are of Eastern European origin.

The large three-storey building is on one of Tralee’s most historic streets, the location for the courthouse and St John’s Church of Ireland.

Last year, nearby Castle Street was closed for some weeks after a 200-year-old building there, also under renovation, became unstable.

The fire service received a report of the partial building collapse today from a member of the public at 8.15am.

Three units from Tralee Fire Service responded and remain at the scene.

The Health and Safety Authority has been informed of the incident and has launched an investigation.

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