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Community 'devastated' as young American woman dies in Limerick blaze

The property at The Oaks, Riverbank, Annacotty
The property at The Oaks, Riverbank, Annacotty

A Limerick community has been left "devastated" after a tragic house fire claimed the life of a young woman in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The deceased, aged in her late 20s and originally from the US, was found by firefighters searching inside the property at The Oaks, Riverbank, Annacotty, shortly before 4am, but was later pronounced dead.

Gardaí are not treating the fire as suspicious and are currently working on the theory that it was a tragic accident.

The three-storey property is being rented to three UL Bohemians rugby players, who were in the house at the time of the blaze.

Another woman was also in the property at the time.

Luckily, all four individuals escaped uninjured.

A post-mortem examination was due to be carried out at University Hospital Limerick last night.

Gardaí have made contact with the deceased's next of kin, who is living abroad.

The alarm was raised by one of the UL Bohemians players who telephoned emergency services at 3.12am, with two units attached to Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service attending the blaze within minutes of the call-out.

The deceased - who is not believed to be an Irish citizen - had been staying over at the property but was not living in the area.

UL Bohemians public relations officer Tony Quilty said that the club's players who survived the fire are "devastated", while expressing his sympathies to the deceased and her family.

"My concern now is just for our lads, it was a tragic house fire.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our lads and the family of the lady that has tragically died. They're devastated," Mr Quilty said.

Locals in the area yesterday expressed their shock at the tragedy.

One man told the Irish Independent: "I was coming home from work and I saw the fire fighters were there putting the fire out. I asked if anyone was hurt and they said one woman was, it is very sad to hear. I hope the other people in the house are okay, it is really shocking that this has happened."

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 information 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.

"I want to sympathise with the woman's family and friends; a lovely young person taken in their prime, it's just too much to take."

Cllr 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.

"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.

"People wouldn't necessarily know their neighbours, especially [those] in their 20s; they'd be typically going to work everyday, coming back, recreating in the local park and so on.

"As yet, we don't know the identify of this poor and unfortunate girl."