Belfast Telegraph

Family wants answers about how firefighter died in blaze

By Donna Deeney

The family of a Dungiven fireman who lost his life while tackling a blaze at a hotel in Limavady have begun a campaign to hold an independent inquiry into his death.

Joe McCloskey died in a blaze at the Gorteen Hotel on Halloween night in 2003 after the roof he was working on collapsed.

His widow Marie and family will on Tuesday launch the ‘Justice for Joe’ petition at Dungiven Fire Station, where Mr McCloskey was based. It will also be sent to every fire station in Northern Ireland.

Mrs McCloskey told the Belfast Telegraph: “We have many, many friends within the service and it is out of a need to protect the occupational fireman on ground level that we are doing this, because there was no-one who loved the Fire Service like Joe.

“We have been asking questions about the circumstances surrounding Joe's death and why he was up on that roof now for years and I will not stop until I get the answers, because at the end of the day it is all I have left.” An inquest into Mr McCloskey's death was held in April 2007.

Mrs McCloskey said: “One of the statements from the inquest was from the Fire Service's own investigator and he gave evidence that just 10 minutes after the fire started, the building was lost and that there were highly flammable substances in the building. If that was the case, then who gave the order for Joe to go on the roof? Who carried out the risk assessment and why was Joe told to go on the roof?”

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said: “NIFRS has done its level best to address the family’s queries and concerns, as far as is possible, in relation to the death of leading firefighter Joe McCloskey seven years ago, in the hope that it might help bring some comfort to the family.”

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