Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Three found dead in vacant property

Firefighters were called after reports of smoke coming from a house in Roscommon

Three men have died from suspected smoke inhalation in a vacant house.

The men were found dead in the living room of the run-down property in Roscommon town. Gardai were called to St Ciaran's Park after a report of smoke at the house.

Fire crews were also called but there was no blaze to extinguish. The three men, believed to be aged from their 20s to early 30s, had been using the house, which had been repossessed a number of years ago.

The men have been named locally as John Kerr, his mother's partner Micheal Byrne and their friend Ian Finn. Mr Kerr was originally from Dublin and had been living in Roscommon for about seven years. Mr Byrne was from the nearby Castleplunkett and Mr Finn was originally from England.

Fine Gael councillor Domnick Connolly knew one of the men. "I was speaking to him just the other day," said Mr Connolly. They were all a friendly bunch who would have been well enough known around the town."

Fire chiefs and gardai were investigating whether a cushion or part of an armchair had been smouldering and the victims died from smoke inhalation.

It is understood the house, in the centre of the town, has been empty for up to three years and sits next door to another boarded-up property. Locals have described the property as a squat and drinking den, and complaints have been made about glass bottles strewn at the back of the house.

All three men are believed to have been unemployed.

Roscommon senior assistant chief fire officer Norbert Ferguson said gardai informed firefighters there was no need for their services and they were sent away. "There was no fire and no smoke when we got there," said Mr Ferguson. "That doesn't mean there hadn't been earlier in the morning, but there was certainly no visible damage to the house."

A Garda Technical Bureau team carried out forensic tests to try to establish how the men died.

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