House fire victim was loved by everyone, says mayor
A small rural community has been left shocked by the death of their neighbour in a house fire.
Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire which began in the home of William (Willie) Fleming in Magilligan, Londonderry some time before 9pm on Monday night.
Mr Fleming, who lived alone, was a much-loved and well-respected member of the community and is believed to have been in bed when the fire broke out.
Four fire appliances tackled the blaze which completely destroyed the bungalow where he lived.
Limavady mayor and neighbour Cathal McLaughlin watched attempts to extinguish the fire.
He said: “It was very traumatic for all of us who knew Willie to have to stand helplessly and watch while the Fire Service tackled the fire so we can only guess how much worse it was for his brother and two sisters to have to see that too. It was a shocking sight to see the smoke billowing and the huge flames raging through Willie's home, knowing there wasn't a single thing we could do.
“Willie Fleming was loved by everyone in Magilligan.
“This is just a small country village and everyone knows everyone else and I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Willie.
“He was a single man who never married but he was adored by his nieces and nephews and by his brother John and sisters Maureen and Anne.
“Willie was very much a part of the community here and he will be sadly missed by all of us.”
Cllr McLaughlin said: “I think I can speak on behalf of the Fleming family when I say thanks to the brave firefighters who were here on Monday night.
“Sometimes it is only when you see what they do at close quarters that we fully appreciate just how valuable our Fire Service and all our emergency services are.”