Harrowing account given of Ballyvary house fire tragedy

A Ballyvary woman delivered a harrowing account of her repeated attempts to save her mother-in-law from a house fire, at an inquest in Castlebar on Monday.

Pathologist Dr Fadel Bennani told the inquest that Eileen McDonnell (78 ) from Laughravary, Ballyvary, succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in the fire at her home on Ballyvary on March 7 last.

Coroner for South Mayo, John O’Dwyer, returned a verdict of accidental death.

The inquest heard that an emergency response company contacted Joseph O’Donnell, a postman in Castlebar, on March 7 at about 1.40pm, because a fire alarm was sounding in his mother’s house.

He was on his postal round and called his wife Jacinta to check on his mother next door.

Ms McDonnell went to the house and called out to her mother-in-law. She called back from a bedroom that was more recently used as a storage room and the deceased sometimes used the fireplace in the room to burn small items of


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