Larry Kavanagh, 79, and his daughter Rose Condon, 49, a mother of three, died when fire engulfed their house in Tuam, Co Galway.
The town was in shock yesterday as news of the double tragedy broke, reviving memories of a fire tragedy just a few hundred yards away which claimed a mother and her four young children 25 years ago.
In May 1981, Margaret Ward and her children, Michael, Sean, Diane and Margaret, died when fire destroyed their house at Barrack Street.
Yesterday’s fire broke out around 2.30am and was spotted by a neighbour and a passing garda car.
Gardaí made a frantic effort to get Mr Kavanagh and his daughter out of the house. Mr Kavanagh, who worked as a butcher’s assistant, was asleep in a downstairs bedroom and was pronounced dead at the scene.
His daughter was asleep in a bedroom upstairs in the semi-detached house.
Garda Inspector Paul Glynn said: “Gardaí broke down the door and when they got about halfway up the stairs, the smoke just got too thick and they had to get out.
The fire brigade got upstairs and removed the daughter and at that stage she was still alive, but unfortunately she died at the scene. Her father was asleep downstairs. The fire started downstairs near where he was, so unfortunately he died fairly quickly.” The badly damaged house was yesterday examined by forensic experts but gardaí are satisfied no foul play was involved.
Rose is survived by her children James, Sharon and Kevin and their father Michael. Neighbours and friends left flowers at the front of the house yesterday, while the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary, also visited the scene.
Meanwhile, a coroner yesterday spoke of his “admiration” for the family of a mother and son who died in a house fire who decided to donate their organs.
At least two other people benefited from the decision to donate the kidneys of the mother.
The comments were made by Louth county coroner Ronan Maguire as he opened the inquests into the death of Marian Moran, 25, and her three-and-a-half-year-old Brandyn, who died nearly a week after the blaze engulfed their Dundalk home.
The fire broke out on April 2 last year in the house they shared in the Farndreg estate in Coxes Demesne.
At the time Marian’s father, Derek, said they had no hesitation offering her organs for donation: “It is what she would have wanted; she was that type of person. She would literally give you her heart.”
Both her kidneys and her heart were removed before the body was returned to her family. Coroner Mr Ronan Maguire praised the family saying: “I have admiration that in a time of need you consented to organ donation so that somebody could benefit out of this appalling tragedy. I don’t have the words to deal with the extent of my admiration.”