'It's just too much to take' - community in shock as woman killed in house fire
A young woman has tragically lost her life after a fire ripped through the house where she was staying.
The woman, aged in her late 20s, was recovered by firefighters searching inside the property at The Oaks, Riverbank, Annacotty, Co Limerick, shortly before 4am yesterday. She was later pronounced dead.
Gardai are not treating the fire as suspicious and are working on the theory it was an accident.
The three-storey property is being rented to three UL Bohemians rugby players, who were in the house at the time of the blaze along with another woman. Those four all escaped uninjured.
A post-mortem examination was due to be carried out on the victim at University Hospital Limerick last night.
It has been confirmed the woman was American and gardai were attempting to contact her family back home.
The alarm was raised by one of the players who called emergency services at 3.12am.
Two units attached to Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service were at the blaze within minutes of the call-out.
The deceased had been staying over at the property but was not living in the area.
UL Bohemians spokesman Tony Quilty said the players who survived the fire are "devastated", while expressing his sympathies to the family of the deceased.
"My concern now is just for our lads, it was a tragic house fire," said Mr Quilty.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the lady that has tragically died."
Locals in the area yesterday expressed their shock. One man, who was returning from work at the time of the fire, said he saw firefighters battling the blaze.
"I asked if anyone was hurt and they said one woman was - it is very sad to hear," he said.
"I hope the other people in the house are okay, it is really shocking that this has happened."
Local Fine Gael councillor Marian Hurley visited the scene. She said the community had been rocked by the tragedy.
"We've had a tragedy up the road after a lovely lady in the prime of her life had a stroke a few days ago and her funeral was yesterday and she lived around the corner," she said. "We're a community in shock.
"I want to sympathise with the woman's family and friends. A lovely young person taken in their prime - it's just too much to take," she added.
"People wouldn't necessarily know their neighbours, especially [those] in their 20s. They'd be typically going to work every day, coming back, going to the local park and so on. As yet, we don't know the identity of this poor and unfortunate girl."