Sick woman couldn't flee house blaze
A WOMAN who died in a tragic house fire was not able to escape because an illness had robbed her of her mobility.
Maura Rigney (64) was in an upstairs bedroom of her home on the Ferbane Road near Ballycumber, Co Offaly, when the flames took hold at 11.20am on Saturday morning.
Her husband Michael had only been away a short while to feed their cattle when he spotted the smoke coming from the house.
He had given his wife her breakfast in bed before leaving.
After he hurried back to the farmhouse he was helpless to do anything to save Maura because the blaze had taken hold.
"Michael saw the smoke coming from the house but by the time he got there it was too late," said a neighbour.
Maura was alone in the house and was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Any death that occurs under tragic circumstances is a difficult one," local priest Fr Thomas Cox said.
"Maura's husband is just destroyed. He is a religious man of deep faith, and all that we can do is hope that same faith will help him through this difficult time," he added.
Fr Cox said that Maura had not been in good health because of long-term illness, and her movement was restricted as a result.
Her body was brought to the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore for a post mortem.
Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into a fire that caused a five-storey apartment block to be evacuated on Friday night.
The massive fire on the North Quay in New Ross, Co Wexford, broke out during rush hour on Friday.
It caused major traffic delays in the area and dozens of residents were forced out of their homes but nobody was injured.
The Kennedy Plaza apartment block, where the fire started, is one of the oldest and largest in the town and also has significant storage space.
The ground floor was recently developed into a shop unit but remains unoccupied.