Belfast Telegraph

Son battled in vain to save 94-year-old Sarah Thompson who in Armagh kitchen blaze

By Cate McCurry

A brave Co Armagh man who fought back flames in a bid to save his 94-year-old mother from a blaze at her home has been left devastated by her death.

Sarah Thompson's body was found after her son and neighbours battled desperately to put out the fire that started in the kitchen of her home in Jonesborough on Sunday.

She was described as a "wonderful woman" who had lived in the village most of her life.

It is understood her son returned to the property in Bay View to find smoke billowing out of a door.

He screamed for help and a number of neighbours rushed from their homes to the scene where they tried to put the small fire out.

Despite extinguishing the blaze, Mrs Thompson, who is understood to be a mother-of-three, was found dead.

A man in his 50s was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene by firefighters

Sinn Fein councillor Mickey Larkin, who spoke to Mrs Thompson's family hours after her death, said the local community is in shock.

"The family are long established in the area. They have been there for generations. She was a wonderful person and a lovely lady to converse with," he said. "Her family is very well-respected in the area and she was so well-loved as one of the eldest residents in the village.

"Her son had only been away for a short time when the fire took hold in the kitchen. He opened the door and smoke came billowing out.

"He roared for help and neighbours came rushing out. They put the fire out but unfortunately she was already gone. She was very close to the son who found her, they were inseparable.

Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon said the "whole community was in shock. This is a deeply tragic event and my thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased victim, who was very well known and respected in the local area," she said.

A police spokesman said: "Police received a report of a fire at a house shortly after 7.30pm. Emergency services attended but unfortunately the woman was found deceased at the scene.

"An investigation into the cause of the fire, which is not believed to be suspicious, has now commenced."

Meanwhile, a man was found dead after a flat went on fire in Co Down.

Emergency services were called to the blaze in a ground floor flat in Ardmillan Crescent in Newtownards on Friday night.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: "Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property and carried out a search.

"Tragically a man was confirmed dead at the scene.

"Firefighters dealt with a fire in a rear bedroom.

"Two fire appliances from Newtownards Station and one from Bangor Station attended the incident.

"The cause of the fire has been confirmed as accidental."

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