THE FIRE Service are still investigating the cause of a tragic blaze at a house in Enniskillen which claimed the life on an edlery man over the Christmas holidays.
Ben Donnelly (80) died as the result of a fire at his home in Enniskillen. At 11am on Christmas Eve the Fire Service were tasked to the fire, but unfortunately Mr Donnelly died at the scene.
Police confirmed that the man died following a fire at a house in Braeside Park on Monday 24 December. A PSNI spokesman said, “Police received a report of the fire at around 11am. Emergency services attended the incident but unfortunately the man was found deceased at the scene. An investigation into the cause of the fire, which is not believed to be suspicious, has now commenced.”
A spokesman for the Fire Service confirmed that two appliances from Enniskillen and one from Irvinestown had attended the scene.
The spokesman added, “Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property and carried out a search. A fire in the living room was extinguished by firefighters. Sadly a man in his 80s was confirmed dead at the scene by Ambulance personnel. The cause of the fire was determined as accidental. The incident was dealt with at 11.20am.”
Fire Service Area Commander Tate added, “During the Christmas holiday season, we would like to remind the public to ensure they have a working fire alarm on every floor of the house; to be aware of obvious dangers at this time of year like candles, wrapping paper and Christmas decorations and to plan an escape route and make everyone aware of it.”
Tributes were paid on social media in which Mr Donnelly was described as “a true gentleman” and “the soul of our street”.
Monsignor Peter O’Reilly also paid tribute to Mr Donnelly, he said, “I was really sorry to hear of the death of Ben Donnelly in such a tragic manner. Unfortunately, death can come at any time, but at this time of year, we feel such things even more. Our hearts go out to his family. We keep them in our prayers.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Debbie Coyle said, “I would extend my sympathies to the family. It’s very tragic over Christmas time. It’s a stark reminder for people to be aware around safety issues. At this time of year you have lights plugged in and you have all these different electrical gadgets. The message is, just be careful and double check that plugs are out.”
Local SDLP Councillor Paul Blake added, “I think at this time of year that it is very tragic when families are coming together and the father is not at the table. It’s very difficult and I would send my condolences to his two daughters and the family circle at this difficult time. I would also advise people to continue to be vigilant and check in on their elderly neighbours.”
The pensioner’s funeral was held at St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen on Sunday 30 December. Mr Donnelly is survived by his daughters Sharon and Lynn, brother Jim, grandchildren, nieces and large family circle.