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Neighbour heard screams from Cork house fire which claimed two lives

Gardaí and fire services were called to the scene at around 4am

A MAN who was injured as he tried to rescue neighbours from a house fire which left two men dead had described how he "could hear screaming" from inside.

Kenny Relihan, who was in his 20s, and Noel O'Mahony, who was in his 60s, died in the blaze in Macroom in Co Cork on Monday morning.

Mr Relihan was from St Colman's Park - where the fire happened - and Mr O'Mahony was originally from Cackanode in the town.

Tim Coleman described how a friend who was visiting him between 3-3.30am came running up the stairs to tell him that the house across the street was on fire - with a blaze apparent in an upstairs window.

They ran across the street and both tried to break down the door, Mr Coleman smashing a pane of glass.

"We tried a few times and eventually we got it down and I got up one or two steps, but the smoke was too much for me and I came back out and I heard a woman screaming," he said.

"She was at the top of the window."

Someone brought a ladder and Mr Coleman climbed up "to get her down".

"I told her, I convinced her that she jumped or she'd be in there with the rest of them, basically, like, and she jumped and hit the floor.

"I jumped off the ladder and I picked her up and put her on the wall."

Mr Coleman tried to go back in, but was again driven back by smoke.

"I could hear screaming at that stage. I couldn't do any more due to the fire and smoke. The fire brigade arrived along with the guards."

Gardaí and fire services arrived at the scene at around 4am.

The bodies of the two victims were discovered inside the house after the fire was brought under control and both were pronounced dead at the scene, with their bodies taken to Cork University Hospital for post mortem examination.

The woman who jumped from an upstairs window is understood to be the mother of Mr Relihan. she was taken to hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation.

Mr Coleman was also treated for minor injuries after trying to break the door down.

A Garda spokesman confirmed: "Early indications are that the fire started accidentally."

One line of inquiry that gardaí are focussing on is that the fire may have started in a chip pan which caught fire in the kitchen and spread throughout the remainder of the terraced house.

Mayor of County Cork councillor John Paul O'Shea extended his sympathies to the families of the victims describing the incident as “a shocking loss and terrible tragedy”.

Investigators appealed for witnesses to contact Macroom Garda Station.

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