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Armagh man Barry Toal dies in house fire

By Cate McCurry

Family members who ran back into their burning home to rescue a 55-year-old relative have been left “traumatised” by his death.

The fire victim, named locally as Barry Toal, was trapped in an upstairs room in his family home in Co Armagh on Friday night.

Two people, understood to be relatives of the deceased, were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The alarm was raised by neighbours who alerted the emergency services to the fire on Culdee Drive in Armagh city at around 8.40pm. The neighbours rescued two people from the burning house who then used a ladder and tried to break an upstairs window in an attempt to save the man.

Armagh Lord Mayor Garath Keating was at the scene and described a sight of devastation with some survivors blackened by smoke as they attempted to rescue others.

“This is a traumatic event for everyone. It is a tragedy,” he said.

“Two people were rescued from the house by neighbours and they then tried to get back in to the house to rescue Mr Toal.

“They got a ladder and tried to break the upstairs window.

“The two people were taken to a neighbour’s house and were in a traumatised state.

“It is a terrible tragedy. I would commend the quick response of the emergency services who stopped the fire spreading to other properties and the neighbours who tried to help.

“As a community we will be doing all we can to help the family.”

The NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said five emergency appliances and 30 personnel were sent to the blaze scene and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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