Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Residence's staff fought to save the life of latest blaze victim

Tributes have been paid to the elderly woman who died from extensive burns after a fire broke out at the nursing home where she lived.

The 81-year-old had been in her room at the Owenvale Court nursing home in west Belfast when the blaze broke out on Tuesday night.

Last night the head of Helm Housing , which owns the property, said the victim would “be sadly missed” by all the staff — two of whom had made valiant attempts to save her life.

Greg Lomax, interim chief executive, said staff had “responded promptly” after the alarm was raised shortly after 11pm.

“All staff involved would like to extend their deepest sympathy to the family. This was a tragic loss of life,” he added.

Two members of staff at the facility managed to put out the blaze and begin first aid on the woman while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

Fire and ambulance crews arrived a short time later to provide further aid. The victim was treated at the scene before being rushed to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital — but died yesterday afternoon as a result of her injuries.

She is the sixth person over 60 to die in a fire in Northern Ireland since the beginning of last month.

Following the blaze another resident was treated for smoke inhalation by ambulance crews, along with the two members of staff who had helped the victim.

According to the Fire Service, a further 20 residents were led to the safety of the home's day room as a “precautionary measure”.

Although the cause of the fire has yet to be confirmed, it is understood to have been accidental.

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