It’s every parents worst nightmare. A fire in the early hours of the morning and the struggle to help your children escape. Despite the very best efforts of dad, Richard Connolly and the many firefighters who attended the scene of the fire at Termon Road, Boyle on Monday morning, they were unable to save five year old Marie Keane-Connolly.
Mr Connolly suffered a broken back and a punctured lung when he jumped out of the top floor window of the two storey home with Marie’s sisters, Naomi (6) and Lauren (8). His actions undoubtedly saved their lives. They were taken to Sligo General Hospital suffering smoke inhalation, but Mr Connolly was later transferred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin for further treatment.
Tragically, Mr Connolly’s former partner and Marie’s mother, Teresa Keane, was in hospital recovering from the birth of twin girls when the blaze broke out some time before 2.30am on Monday last. The three girls had been staying with their father during their mother’s stay in hospital.
Gardai have confirmed they are treating the fire as suspicious and they are now awaiting the results of forensic tests after reports that an accelerant may have been thrown through the letterbox of the front door shortly before the blaze broke out.
Such was the ferocity of the blaze that fire units from Boyle, Carrick-on-Shannon and Elphin were called in to try and tackle the fire.
The intense heat made it difficult to access the building and with the stairs already extensively damaged and parts of the roof and second floor left dangerously close to collapse it took some time before fire officers were able make their way inside.
Sadly they discovered the body of little Marie on the second floor of the building.
See this week’s Leitrim Observer for the full story.