Safety call after third fire death
Fire chiefs are to assess fire safety measures provided to older people after the third fatal blaze in a week.
A 78-year-old woman has died in a house fire in her detached bungalow at Linseys Hill in Armagh. Care workers were alerted to the fire when smoke alarms went off but she was found dead in her bedroom, where the accidental fire is believed to have started.
Last week, Albert Kane, 64, died in a fire at his home on the Bush Road between Ballymoney and Dervock in Co Antrim. The blaze took hold hours after Co Down pensioner Sadie Ferguson was killed in house fire at the 78-year-old's home on the Dundrum Road near Dromara.
Both those fires were also accidental.
The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said three deaths in such a short period of time was an "unprecedented tragedy".
Dale Ashford, assistant chief fire officer safety services with the NIFRS, urged people to take advantage of the service's free fire safety checks.
"All our thoughts are very much with this lady's family and friends at this time," he said.
"This is an unprecedented tragedy that three elderly people have now lost their lives in accidental house fires over the past week. We work tirelessly to protect all our vulnerable groups, including the elderly, to ensure they keep safe from the dangers of fire in their homes.
"We target our free home fire safety checks and work closely with partner agencies to help protect the elderly in our community. I will be meeting our partner agencies this week to discuss if there are further measures we can take, because by working together we can save more lives.
"Our firefighters, as always, are out door-to-door carrying out free home fire safety checks and providing working smoke alarms to those who require them right across Northern Ireland."