TRAGEDY struck Newport in the early hours of Monday morning when a fire in an apartment above Keane’s Meats on Main Street claimed the life of a 24 -year-old local woman.
The dead woman, who was named locally as Elizabeth O’Malley of Treenbeg, Newport, died when a fire and smoke engulfed the first-floor bedroom of the apartment. The male occupant of the apartment was in the building at the time, but escaped uninjured.
Ms O’Malley who worked as an interior designer with Albany Hardware was the eldest child of John and Margaret O’Malley of Treenbeg, Newport and the sister of Sarah Ann.
The alarm was raised at approximately 4.30am and a unit from the Westport Fire Brigade arrived at the scene at 4.45am. The fire crew were met by the male occupant who was outside on the street. They then entered the building using breathing equipment and searched the apartment, where they found the body of Ms O’Malley in the bedroom.
The three-storey building was completely refurbished in 2003 and contained three apartments along with the business premises on the ground floor. A spokesperson for the fire brigade said the fire was extinguished very quickly and was contained within the bedroom but there was smoke and heat damage to parts of the building. It was also confirmed that the fire alarms and emergency lighting were working.
Gardaí said on Monday that they were carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the fire and the cause of Ms O’Malley’s death. The site was preserved and sealed off for technical examination by the Garda forensic unit who arrived from Dublin at approximately 2pm on Monday afternoon. They were unable to complete their examination on Monday due to the fading light and the scene was preserved overnight and completed the following morning. The body was removed from the scene to Mayo General Hospital at four o’clock on Monday for the post-mortem to be carried out by the State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy.
Local councillor Frank Chambers expressed his sympathy with the family of the deceased woman, and said the town was robbed of a very vibrant and creative young person.
“I know all of the people concerned, both the owner of the property and the family of the young lady. She was a vibrant young person who had her life very much ahead of her and it is a tragedy for her family and the community at large. It has dulled the expectations of the new year and has put the community back big time,” said Cllr Chambers.
As a mark of respect, the Burrishoole GAA Dinner Dance which was due to take place in Hotel Newport on Saturday night has been postponed and will take place at a later date. Mayo County Council adjourned their Budget meeting for one hour on Monday evening as a mark of respect to the deceased.