The Co Down village of Carrowdore was left reeling this week following the death of an elderly man in a house fire.
The victim, who was named locally as Jim Francis, 74, died after the blaze, which took hold at the house on Manse Road, was reported to emergency services at approximately 4 o’clock on Monday morning.
Speaking after holding talks with |senior police and fire service staff, Strangford MLA Jonathan Bell said: “This is a tragic incident which has resulted in |a fatality.
“Carrowdore is a wonderful village with a close knit community and I appreciate the sense of shock and sadness.
“Speaking with police I understand that the circumstances are not suspicious and the fire service are continuing their investigation.
“The family circle and loved ones of the elderly gentleman who has died are very much in our thoughts and prayers.”
Fellow Strangford MLA Kieran McCarthy said the local community were in “shock”.
“I want to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the man who died in this tragic incident,” he said.
“I want to praise the bravery of the authorities in their efforts to tackle the blaze. This is a sad day for Carrowdore and my thoughts at this difficult time are with the family of the man who passed away.”
A statement from the PSNI said: “A man has died following a fire at a house in the Manse Road area of Carrowdore, Newtownards.
“The fire was reported to police at 4.06am on Monday, May 10. Police and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended.
“Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire. Enquiries are ongoing.”