Gardai investigating the fire in Grange Crescent, Mullingar on Monday morning (August 22 ) in which a mother and daughter were seriously injured are “satisfied it wasn’t started deliberately”.
Five occupants of the house in Mullingar, Anthony Maloney (31 ), Sharon Gahan (30 ), and three of their daughters -Kelly (13 ), Molly (7 ), and Sophie (6 ) - escaped through an upstairs window with the assistance of a number of neighbours.
However, a fourth daughter, two-year-old Maddie, who had taken refuge under her bed, was rescued by the selfless actions of two gardaí who took it in turns to run in and out of the the smoke-filled house, methodically searching each room, and ultimately locating and retrieving the child.
The fire service, on the scene within 12 minutes of the call, did a full search of the premises in breathing apparatus, before ventilating the property, and handing the scene back to gardaí.
All six occupants of the house were initially taken to the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar, with Maddie subsequently taken to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, and her mother to Drogheda.
The two Gardaí were also treated at the Midlands Regional Hospital for smoke inhalation.
The scene was preserved for technical examination, as there were some initial suspicions of arson, but this was ruled out forensically by Wednesday, with unconfirmed blame leaning towards an electrical fault.
However investigations are continuing into a separate fire in a house in Toor Valley, Moate last week in which a single male occupant suffered burns to his hands and face and was taken to Tullamore hospital.
The fire in Moate on Tuesday evening (August 16 ) initiated in the hall also, was hot enough to burn the first four steps of the stairs, but Gardaí have kept the investigation ongoing after evidence of an accelerant was revealed.
It is not known if either home had a working smoke alarm.