tragic loss | 

Son of OAP (86) who died in Cork house fire days before Christmas says it was ‘waking nightmare’

‘I was over in Dunne’s then when I heard the siren from the fire station. I was hoping in the back of my mind they weren't going anywhere near our place’

Sunday World

The son of a pensioner who died in a horrific house fire in Cork just days before Christmas has spoken of his dreadful loss.

Sean Lynch, who was 86, was killed in the house fire at Waterpark near Carrigaline Town Centre on December 23.

His son David had come back to Cork from Dublin where he works as a software engineer to become a carer for his dad following the death of his mother.

David said his dad “had struggled a lot after my mam Noirín passed away six years ago”.

He told Neil Prendiville on Red FM: “I came back to lend a hand. I was trying to make the best of coming up and down from Dublin but when the pandemic and then the lockdown struck I was with him more full time.

“And in some way he was glad of the company.”

However, tragedy struck on the day before Christmas Eve after David had gone shopping with his dad for Christmas dinner.

“Myself and my dad had gone shopping in the afternoon and when we got home afterwards I made some dinner at around 7pm,” David recalled. “I had left him by the fireplace at around 7.30 to get a few more bits and pieces in the village. His dog Romeo was by his feet. He was just finishing his dessert and I said I wouldn't be long.

“I was over in Dunne’s then when I heard the siren from the fire station beside the supermarket. I was hoping in the back of my mind they weren't going anywhere near our place. It was just when I was driving back into the estate that I saw all the commotion.

“It was a waking nightmare,” David said. “I couldn't quite comprehend it. I was just trying to call my dad but the phone wasn't connecting or anything.”

David later talked to the Garda forensics unit but they couldn't say definitively (what happened).

“I can only assume that something must have come out of the fire,” David added. “Maybe my dad dozed off a little bit because he’d normally go for an afternoon nap but we had been shopping in Douglas in the afternoon so maybe he was a little more tired than usual.

“It makes you think just how quickly things can change, like, the flick of a switch.”

David said there was extensive damage caused to the house by the fire with most of the roof gone.

He said he had lost most of their belongings but in the days that passed he sifted through some of the debris.

“I found a photo album that was damaged but in the centre there were one or two photos I could salvage, so that was something to treasure and hold onto,” he added.

David revealed that kindly neighbours had rented him a flat nearby so he could stay in the area.

He told the radio show that he needed a structural engineer to help him assess the damage to the house and it was later revealed that John O’Brien and Co Structural Engineering Kilworth had offered to carry out the work free of charge.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone in the neighbourhood and the wider community for their help and goodwill,” David said.

“I just want to add as well, that when he met my mam my dad would have introduced himself as John, so many people would have known him as John.

“My dad would have grown up in Saint Luke’s in Knocklawn and my mam would have been from Abbyfield in Co Limerick. They met at a dance in the late 1960s. They were married for 45 years and he adored her. Even after she passed he told me he dreamt of her every night, at least for the first three or four years after.”

A GoFundMe page ( has been established to help David with costs.

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