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Tributes paid to three Irish people who died in UK house fire

A woman and two men, all aged in their 60s and 70s, died as a result of the fire.

lab Laburnum Avenue, Hornchurch Source: Google Maps

Updated 2:30pm 9/2/17

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to the Cork couple who, along with a close relative, died following a house fire in the UK on Monday.

Named locally as Joe and Anne Whelan, it is believed the couple were visiting Joe’s brother Jim who lived in Hornchurch, east of London.

Jim is said to have been in ill health in recent months, and Joe and Anne had come to help take care of him.

The brothers were originally from Dublin, but Joe and Anne had been living in Cobh, Co Cork before going to stay with Jim, who had lived around London for much of his adult life.

A neighbour of Jim told the Evening Standard that the news was heartbreaking for the whole community.

They said: “He was a very close neighbour, this fire has broken the entire street.

His family came over to help him and they perished too – it’s just awful.

Another neighbour, Valerie Newman, said: “Jim was lovely, dead chatty and the fittest man for his age.”

Essex Live reports that firefighters were called to the ground floor fire at the house on Laburnum Avenue in the town at about 4am on Monday morning.

It’s understood that Anne died at the scene, while the two men who were removed to hospital later died from their injuries. She was aged 68, while Joe and Jim were aged 74 and 76, respectively.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan expressed his “deepest sympathies” to the families involved.

“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the three people who died following a house fire in Hornchurch in Essex, on Monday,” Flanagan said in a statement yesterday evening.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to those families at present.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. It was brought under control by the fire services in attendance, four fire engines and 21 firefighters, before 6am.

“My thoughts and those of everyone at the brigade are with the friends and family of the three people who have died following the tragic fire in Hornchurch on Monday morning,” London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said in a statement.

Firefighters worked extremely hard and did all they could in difficult conditions.

A Metropolitan Police investigation was launched into the cause of the fire and concluded that no suspicious circumstances were present.

“We are very sad that the community has lost three of its members in this very tragic incident,” said Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson of Havering borough police.

This appears to be through accidental circumstances. Our prayers and condolences go out to the families of those involved.

With reporting from Sean Murray

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