herald

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Father died in blaze trying to save daughter

CLOSE: Nadine and Anthony
CLOSE: Nadine and Anthony

A FATHER who lost his life in a fire had gone back in to rescue his little girl after lowering his wife to safety from an upstairs bedroom.

Five-year-old Nadine O'Brien and her father Anthony (29) perished in the blaze at their home at Killeen Heights, Tralee, Co Kerry, in May 2012.

Both died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation, the jury at the inquest into their deaths found.

The ingestion of a combination of sedative drugs was a contributory factor in Mr O'Brien's death.

The inquest also heard the fire alarm in the house was not working at the time.

Nadine's mother Kelly O'Brien said she regretted leaving her daughter out of her arms when she was awoken by thick smoke in the early hours of Saturday May 12 last year.

In her deposition that was read out at the coroner's court, she described how Nadine used to sleep in her parents' bed at the weekend and she was lying between them.

She revealed she and her husband had both taken a sleeping tablet before going to bed.

SMOKE

She said her husband opened the bedroom door but thick smoke rushed into the room.

She said he told her and Nadine, who were both coughing, not to move while he tried to break the window of the box room. He then took Nadine from her mother as he tried to look for an escape.

"I should have kept her in my arms but I was drifting in and out of sleep," she said.

She said she made her way out onto a ledge and said Anthony put Nadine's head outside so that she could get air.

"I was hesitant because it was so high but he held on to my hand and told me not to worry that he would hand me down and then hand Nadine down to me," she said.

"He had me down about half way when he looked around and said the child is gone."

Mrs Kelly told her husband to let go of her and she saw him climb back in the window.

Fire-fighters later recovered Nadine's body near a bench press after they had taken her father from the house.

Paramedics desperately tried to save them but they were both pronounced dead at Kerry General Hospital later that morning.

North Kerry Coroner Helen Lucey, Gda Insp Donal Ashe and the jury also extended their sympathy to Mrs O'Brien and her family.

hnews@herald.ie

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