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'It's so hard to take in': Woman (20s) dies in fire at home of club rugby players

The woman’s body was discovered in an upstairs bedroom in the house.

The Oaks at Riverbank in Limerick near where the fire took place.
The Oaks at Riverbank in Limerick near where the fire took place.
Image: Google Maps

Updated at 4.20pm

A YOUNG WOMAN perished at the home of a group of rugby players during a fire in the early hours of this morning.

The body of the woman, aged in her late 20s, was discovered by firefighters searching inside the property at The Oaks, Riverbank, Annacotty, shortly before 4am.

The three-storey property is being rented to three members of the UL Bohemians rugby squad, a club representative confirmed. The alarm was raised by one of the players who telephoned emergency services at 3.12am.

The players are “devastated” a number of sources said. Two units attached to Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service attended the blaze at 3.20am.

When firefighters arrived they were met by the three players, and another woman. However, it quickly became apparent the woman who died was not with the others.

The deceased along with the other woman are believed to have been socialising with the three rugby players and had been staying over at the property.

Firefighters using breathing apparatus bravely entered the burning house and located the woman’s body in bedroom on the second floor. Her body was later taken from the house to University Hospital Limerick where a post mortem is due to be carried out.

Foul play is not suspected, however gardai and fire authorities are continuing to investigate into the exact cause of the blaze.

According to reliable sources the fire started in the second floor bedroom where the woman’s body was found.

Tony Quilty, PRO, UL Bohs, described the fatal incident as “an awful tragedy”.

“All our thoughts are with the boys, and the young lady who died and her family,” Quilty said.

The young rugby players were too upset to speak as they rallied around one another at the house earlier in the day.

The deceased’s body suffered extensive burn injuries before she was discovered by emergency services.

“A community in shock”

Local Fine Gael councillor Marian Hurley said:

“Everybody is rocked by it…It’s so hard to take in.”

We’ve had a tragedy up the road, after a lovely lady in the prime of her life had a stroke a few days ago and her funeral was yesterday and she lived around the corner. So, we’re a community in shock.
I was in touch with the senior garda and he said it was under investigation but that he hadn’t any further investigation to give out at that stage.
All we know is that, around 3am, the alarm was raised, and a young woman (died) here and was taken to hospital. It’s too much to take in.”

Hurley said she wanted to ”sympathise with the woman’s family and friends; a lovely young person taken in their prime, it’s just too much to take”.

Hurley, who visited the scene, added:

For something like this to happen just beggars belief. I just don’t know what to say. We’d all like to be out enjoying the beautiful sunshine on the first of May, but this is a cloud over it, I’m afraid.

Identity

Gardai did not disclose the woman’s identity and were trying to make contact with her family and all next of kin.

“A lot of these properties would have people renting and living and working in the area and there would be quite a turnover of property,” Hurley said.

Gardai confirmed the fatal fire in a statement released by the Garda Press Office.

It said:

“Gardaí and fire services attended the scene of a house fire at The Oaks, Riverbank, Annacotty at 3a.m. this morning Monday, 1st May, 2017.

“The fire was brought under control and the body of the woman, late 20s, was discovered in the house.

Her body was removed to Limerick Regional Hospital where a post mortem examination will take place.
There were four other people (3 men and 1 woman) in the house at the time of the fire and they escaped uninjured. The scene is sealed off and a technical examination will take place later today.

Read: Two arrests as €50k worth of stolen industrial and gardening tools seized at Dublin port

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David Raleigh

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