Belfast Telegraph

Police appeal for more information about family who died in Derrylin blaze

By Victoria Leonard

Police are still trying to establish how many people lost their lives in a ferocious early-morning fire in a border village.

Detectives have already said that at least three people died in the blaze, which broke out at a house at Molly Road outside Derrylin in Co Fermanagh.

The landlord of the house, Tommy Fee, identified the tenants as Edward Gossett (16), his sister Diane Gossett (19), their mother Crystal Gossett, and Diane's young daughter, who he believes was aged under two.

Mr Fee said that another man, who he named as Sam Quinn, also lived at the property.

At a Press conference yesterday Detective Inspector Peter McKenna said that the PSNI was "working hard to try and identify those who died" and that it was continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the blaze.

A 27-year-old man who was arrested at the scene remains in hospital under police guard. Detective Inspector McKenna said he was "hopeful" that the man would be interviewed late yesterday.

Reflecting on those who lost their lives, he added: "First and foremost, my thoughts are with them and their relatives.

"I believe the fire was started deliberately. It was ferocious and has left a very complex crime scene.

"However, we have specialist search and rescue teams working hard to try and identify those who died."

Significantly, Detective Inspector McKenna warned that it could take police several days to confirm how many people lost their lives.

"I am aware of local information about a family living in this property and reports of a fourth victim," he added.

"At this stage we are still working intensively to establish how many victims were involved in this appalling incident.

"This will take a number of days due to the structural damage caused by the fire, which is further compounded by the severe weather that is forecast.

"The specialist officers will ensure that the bodies of all persons identified are recovered in a dignified manner. Post-mortem examinations will then follow and this will assist me in confirming the identity of the victims."

Police are now appealing for the public's assistance for information on the family, who local people say were not well-known in the area.

They have also issued an appeal for witnesses who were in the Molly Road area early on Tuesday morning to come forward.

Detective Inspector McKenna said: "My fully trained team of PSNI detectives continue to investigate and examine the scene.

"I would like to thank the public for their assistance so far and would appeal for anyone who knew of or has any knowledge of the residents of 57 Molly Road, Doon, Derrylin, to make contact with police.

"I would also like to hear from anyone who was in the area of Molly Road between the hours of midnight on Monday through to 7.20am on Tuesday morning.

"Please contact detectives in Enniskillen on 101, or alternatively to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Mr Fee said that the family originally came from Doncaster in the north of England, and had moved to Tralee in Co Kerry, before renting his house in Derrylin a year-and-a-half ago.

Mr Fee told yesterday how he and other neighbours had used a sledgehammer to break down a door and window in a desperate attempt to save the lives of those inside the burning bungalow.

However, despite their brave efforts they were "beaten back by big balls of black smoke" and no one was rescued from inside the property.

Neighbours have expressed their fears that the young child was among those to perish in the inferno, meaning that three generations of the same family may have lost their lives.

The police have not yet confirmed the identities of the victims.

Belfast Telegraph

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