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Dublin fire claims lives of three children and pregnant woman

By Conor Feehan

Three children and a pregnant woman are dead following a horrific apartment fire in Clondalkin in the Republic.

Annemarie O'Brien (27), who was seven months pregnant, died along with her daughter Paris (2) in the fire at Cluaninin Cronan, Clondalkin at around 2.30am yesterday.

Her cousin Biddy O'Brien's daughter Holly O'Brien (3) was also pronounced dead and Biddy's son Jordan (4) later passed away.

Biddy, who is in her 30s, last night remained in a critical condition in St James's Hospital.

Gardai and Dublin Fire Brigade are due to carry out a full investigation this week.

But a source said: "All the initial indications are that the fire was caused by an electrical or wiring fault connected to the TV or the area close to the appliance."

Heartbroken residents in the area arrived to leave flower tributes to the tragic family at the scene.

One said: "Their lives were difficult enough ... They were just looking for a bit of peace in there."

Cards were also left, with one simply reading: "Rest in peace little angels and mammy."

Biddy's cousin Joanne Moorehouse said Annemarie was excited about her baby boy which was due before summer.

"We are both pregnant and I only bumped into Annemarie in Holles Street on Tuesday and we were talking," Joanne said.

"She told me she was expecting a boy and was really excited.

"She said she was looking for a house to bring up Paris and the new baby in and was in Clondalkin hoping that housing would come through for her soon. We're all devastated. We just want to know what happened. We don't know why Biddy and the kids were in the apartment at that time or why they were there with Annemarie. We don't know what the security arrangements are or if people are allowed to stay over."

The apartment complex is owned by the Sonas charity, which provides a step-down facility for women who have suffered domestic violence at some point.

Staff at the facility said they were "devastated by the tragic loss of life".

Sonas CEO Fiona Ryan said: "We are currently supporting other families in the apartment complex including those unable to return to their homes because of fire damage, for whom we are sourcing alternative accommodation.

"Our sympathies and condolences are with the relatives and friends of the deceased and all those impacted by this awful tragedy."

Last night, family and friends maintained a vigil at Biddy O'Brien's bedside as she remained on life-support in St James's Hospital.

Her four-year-old son Jordan had bravely clung on for life for over 12 hours before he was pronounced dead at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin yesterday.

Two other residents were taken to hospital as a precaution due to smoke inhalation following the fire.

It is understood that the first fire service crews were on the scene within five minutes after the alarm was raised.

A spokesman for Dublin Fire Brigade said that a number of 999 calls were made about the blaze, with the first alert coming in at 2.33am.

"We got numerous calls in about it, which would indicate that the fire was noticeable.

"The fire alarm in the apartment had also gone off," a spokesman said.

Brightly coloured teddy bears were left at the scene outside the garda cordon in memory of the children who tragically lost their lives.

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