Inquest Hears Tea Light Candle...


Inquest Hears Tea Light Candle Started Fatal Clondalkin Fire

Brendan O'Loughlin
Brendan O'Loughlin

05:14 13 Dec 2018

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An inquest has heard a fire that killed three young children and a pregnant woman began with a tea light candle.

27-year-old Annmarie O’Brien,  who was eight months pregnant, her 2-year-old daughter Paris, her niece Holly O’Brien (22 months) and nephew Jordan McGinn (4) died in the fire in Clondalkin on March 8 2017.

Verdicts of accidental death were returned for all of them.

The court heard the seat of the fire was located to a shelf under a TV in the living room, and tea lights were found in debris there.

Neighbours heard the building’s central fire alarm go off at 2.30am. They banged on Annmarie’s door before taking their children out of the complex.

Firefighter Keith Conroy, who arrived at the scene, told the Coronor's Court that a fellow officer "found a baby in a nappy. He picked up the child and left the building."

"I found a child, either standing up or sitting on the couch, a little girl. I left with the child and handed her to a firefighter", he said.

Forensic examiner Paul Collins investigated the fire on behalf of Gardai, and said it "was an accident and mostly likely the consequence of a lit tea light or candle setting fire to a large TV screen".

A neighbour told the inquest said she and Annmarie had tampered with a fire alarm, after it went off one day while she was cooking.

Post-mortems on the children revealed they died of brain damage secondary to smoke inhalation, while Annmarie O’Brien died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Coroner returned verdicts of accidental death for all who died in the fire, including Annmarie’s unborn baby AJ.

“The very fact of going through so many verdicts in relation to tiny babies, its very moving. I offer my deep condolences on your tragic loss,” the coroner said.

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