'I tried to lift it off him. I was hysterical'- Aunt of boy (5) who died after fireplace fell on top of him
A FIVE-YEAR-OLD boy was killed while watching cartoons at home when a mantelpiece came loose and fell on top of him in a tragic accident, an inquest has found.
Fionn died instantly in the incident on April 30, 2013.
His aunt Breda Connery, who was looking after him, was making sandwiches in the kitchen when she heard a “horrific noise”, she told the Coroner’s Court in Cork.
“I thought it was the bookcase. I saw the fireplace was on top of Fionn,” she said at the inquest. “I knew the mantel had hit his head. I tried to lift it off him. I was hysterical.”
Fionn’s father Cormac Dawson said he and his wife Anita changed their fireplace at their home in Coolgreen, Glanmire in Co Cork in 2012.
It was fitted in three days by employees of Absolute Homes.
On April 6, 2013 Mr Dawson was cleaning out the fireplace when he noticed the mantle was a little loose. He contacted the owner of Absolute Homes Ltd, Conor McNamara, about his concerns.
“I felt it (the fireplace) give. I was concerned ... But I didn’t get the sense it was about to fall. I called Conor. I told the kids to be careful. I thought there was give but it was stable.”
An appointment was made for one of Mr McNamara’s employees to call out but he had to cancel at the last minute. The pair exchanged calls but unfortunately they kept missing each other.
Mr Dawson said he received a call at work from his wife on April 30 to say the fireplace had fallen on Fionn.
The child passed away before he reached Cork University Hospital.
The two employees who fitted the fireplace said they were confident that had completed the work professionally.
No prosecution was taken in the case after the installers were found to not be at fault.
Engineer and accident Investigator Kieran Spitere said it was his belief that the fixings on the fireplace originally fitted many years ago were not sufficient.
A verdict of accidental death was recorded in the case.
Speaking after the inquest Cormac Dawson said they were devastated at the loss of young Fionn. “As a family we have suffered greatly. He was a wonderful son and brother and his absence is felt every day.”