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Tragedy Strikes Limerick: Fatal Fire Claims Three Lives in Drapery Concern |

Tragedy Strikes Limerick: Fatal Fire Claims Three Lives in Drapery Concern

In a devastating incident on Sunday evening, the quiet streets of Limerick were marred by tragedy as a fire engulfed the drapery concern of Mr George Clancy and Co. The aftermath of the blaze resulted in the loss of three lives, identified as Peter McDonnell, Mary Daly, and George Clancy, the nephew of the establishment’s proprietor.

An inquest into the tragic incident was conducted yesterday evening by Dr Roberts, Deputy City Coroner, at Harrington’s Hospital. The three victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and their bodies were subsequently transferred to the hospital for further examination.

Michael Higgins, a draper’s assistant who was present during the incident, provided crucial testimony during the inquest. According to Higgins, he was responsible for locking the establishment on Sunday after 11 o’clock. Soon after, he turned off the gas lamps, believing the premises to be secure for the night.

Around a quarter to twelve, Higgins was awakened by the cries of George Clancy, the proprietor. Clancy’s alarm indicated that a fire had erupted within the building. In a state of panic, witnesses attempted to rouse the other occupants, including the servant, without success.

Higgins recounted his futile efforts to alert the victims, stating that McDonnell and young Clancy had likely been overcome by the smoke and flames. The dire situation was exacerbated by the flames cutting off the main exit through the stairs.

George Fleury, wife of Mr George Clancy, and Michael Higgins managed to escape the building. Fleury was later arrested along with Higgins. The circumstances surrounding their arrest remain undisclosed as the investigation unfolds.

In the chaos that ensued, witnesses described the harrowing scene of George Clancy desperately trying to keep his head above the rising flames while standing near a window. Efforts to rescue him were hindered until two volunteers, James Aden and Joseph Griffin, arrived with a ladder. Clancy was successfully pulled to safety, but the lives of McDonnell and young Clancy could not be saved.

The fire brigade was promptly summoned, and they worked tirelessly to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading to neighbouring properties. The charred remains of the drapery concern now stand as a stark reminder of the tragic incident that unfolded on that fateful evening.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, with authorities carefully examining all aspects to determine if any negligence or foul play contributed to the deadly incident. The community is left in shock and mourning as they grapple with the loss of three lives in this unforeseen and tragic event that has cast a sombre shadow over the streets of Limerick.

Freeman’s Journal – Tuesday 01 April 1913

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