herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Neighbours' shock as firefighters battled to save OAP after Dublin fire

The house where a Woman died as a result of smoke inhalation following a fire, at Malpas Place, yesterday.
The house where a Woman died as a result of smoke inhalation following a fire, at Malpas Place, yesterday.
The house where a Woman died as a result of smoke inhalation following a fire, at Malpas Place, yesterday.

NEIGHBOURS of an elderly woman who died in a house fire have told of their "shock" at seeing firefighters trying to save her.

It is understood that Hilary Conway (70) died of smoke inhalation after a fire started in her house, at St Malpas Place, Clanbrassil Street, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Dublin Fire Brigade were called to the scene at 7am, where they forced their way into the house and carried Ms Conway out on to the road, where they attempted to resuscitate her.

Ms Conway was then rushed to St James' Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

A neighbour told the Herald how she was suddenly woken by "shouting" on the road. She then witnessed a firewoman emerging from the house holding Ms Conway in her arms.

She said that she watched in "horror" as fire services attempted to resuscitate her neighbour, but she knew she was already dead.

"I jumped out of bed and it was the fire brigade going in and there was quite a lot of them, around 10 at one stage", the neighbour said.

"There was a lot of smoke but it seemed to be only contained within the one room.

"My kids were there too and were watching what was going on, but they told us to move them away when they brought her out to try and resuscitate her", she said.

"I looked away because I just didn't want to see it.

"I knew she was no longer with us and you don't want to have that as a lasting memory of someone you knew," she added.

Forensic teams carried out investigations yesterday to uncover what caused the fire in the house.

One neighbour said she believed the cause of the blaze was due to "a lit cigarette".

Ms Conway was described as "a nice woman who kept to herself", and lived on the street more than 40 years.

Neighbours said that in recent years, Ms Conway had become "limited in her mobility" and was helped by members of the community.

"I used to buy her recycling bags because you could see she was in pain trying to walk to the shops," a neighbour said.

"As neighbours we would often go and get her milk," the resident added.

One family living across the road said that they had gotten to know Ms Conway quite well in the past year, as they began to help her with grocery shopping and everyday needs.

"She would often knock on the door if she needed teabags but she always paid us back", they said.

The pensioner was also said to attend the local bookies from time to time, and frequently left her home to meet friends in Wexford Street. The neighbours said that they didn't know of anyone who was related to Ms Conway and that her brother was currently living in England.

They said they were relieved to learn that their friend had passed away peacefully.

"Even if she tried to get up, she couldn't but we were told she went in her sleep so it was good to know that she didn't suffer".

condolences

Dublin Fire Brigade tweeted their thanks yesterday to "all involved for their efforts" at the fire and offered their condolences to friends and family.

A local resident was heralded for his "quick action" in calling the fire brigade after he smelled smoke in the street.

A neighbour said that if the Fire Brigade hadn't been called at the time, the fire could have spread through the street quite quickly, due to the age of the houses.

Gardai are investigating the incident which is currently not being treated as suspicious.

The house has also been preserved for a technical examination and gardai are appealing for witnesses to contact them at Kevin Street Garda Station on 01-6669400.

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