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Londonderry woman's frantic bid to save man from fire

By Donna Deeney

Published 28/04/2015

The scene at DeBurgh Square in Derry where a man in in twenties died in a house fire on Monday morning
The scene at DeBurgh Square in Derry where a man in in twenties died in a house fire on Monday morning

A Good Samaritan has told of her desperate attempts to help a young man who died in a house fire in Londonderry.

The victim, named locally as Colum McLaughlin, was in his early 20s and was pronounced dead at his De Burgh Square terrace house after the blaze.

The alarm was raised by a passer-by, Rosemount woman Marie Curran, who phoned the Fire Service after smelling smoke in the street.

But she and a taxi driver who stopped couldn't gain entry into the house.

A visibly upset Ms Curran said: "I was walking down Academy Road and I noticed all the smoke but there were no flames.

"A passing taxi driver stopped because he had seen the smoke as well so we both went over to the street and tried to get into the house.

"He went around the back and I tried to see through the window but it wasn't possible.

"I lifted the letter box and could see all the smoke and we could hear the smoke alarms but when I called there was no answer.

"We had rung the fire service straight away but I left after they arrived and only found out a while later that a young man had died.

"It is so sad, he was so young, someone with his life ahead of him. God help his poor family."

A cordon round the street remained in place for several hours after the alarm was raised around 11.15am yesterday morning.

A spokesman for the Fire Service said early indications were that the fire was not suspicious.

He said: "Two fire appliances from Northland Fire Station and one Fire Appliance from Crescent Link Fire Station attended the scene.

"Six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property and found a man at the ground floor of the premises. No one else was inside the property at the time of the incident.

"Tragically, a man in his 20s was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The smoke alarms in the property had been activated.

"Early indications would suggest the fire started accidentally."

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