House fire claims life in Rathfriland

A smoke alarm without a battery has been identified as a contributing factor in the death of Rathfriland man Seamus Maginnis at his home on Friday.

Two appliances from Rathfirland Fire Station attended the incident on the Islandmoyle Road, Cabra, after neighbours raised the alarm just before midday.

In a statement the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “Firefighters tasked to a report of a fire in a detached house on the Islandmoyle Road, located the body of a 51 year old man in the upstairs bedroom of the property. A small fire in the bedroom had burned itself out and the cause appeared to be accidental. No action was taken by firefighters.

A smoke alarm was fitted in the ground floor of the building but the battery was missing”.

Family friend and SDLP Councillor Seamus Doyle spoke fondly of Mr Maginnis saying: “He was a quiet man who loved soccer. He had great talents and was very good with his hands.

“He could make anything, a very clever and likable guy with a great sense of humour - a bit of a character really.”

“I’m very upset that this accident has happened and would like to extend my sympathy to the family.

“It’s very sad and everyone in the community is greatly upset by it.”

Mr Maginnis was theson of the late Pat and Vera and brother of Susan, Sean, Roisin, Grainne, Caroline and Pattie.

A PSNI spokespersonsaid: “At this stage, police are not treating the incident as suspicious”.

The death comes just weeks after the latest smoke alarm campaign calling on people to test their alarms.

“The message is reiterated that you are four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm, so test your smoke alarms,” NIFRS said.

“It takes no time at all and gives a better chance of survival,” said a NIFRS spokesperson.