Claudy dad’s anguish as two daughters perish in house blaze horror

The remains of one of the two sisters who died tragically in a house fire in Letterkenny being removed from the property yesterday.
The remains of one of the two sisters who died tragically in a house fire in Letterkenny being removed from the property yesterday.

The heartbroken father of two sisters who died in a house fire in Letterkenny has spoken of his shock and devastation at his tragic double loss.

Frank Brogan, who lives in Claudy, revealed that Jolene (28) - who was also known as Jody - told him: “I love you daddy”, the night before the horror blaze.

She died alongside her younger sister Angeline (Angie), aged 27, in what’s believed to have been an accidental fire at the rented house in Ceanann View estate at Mountain Top in Letterkenny.

Jolene is understood to have a seven year-old son, and Angie was also a mum.

Speaking to the ‘Irish Star’ newspaper yesterday, Mr Brogan revealed that the girls’ family found out about the double tragedy on Facebook.

Recalling the last conversation he had with Jolene, he said: “She was on the phone to me last night and the last thing she said me was,‘I love you, Daddy’.

“I am just in shock. I went outside in the rain there, but I couldn’t feel a thing. We are a very close family. They are my two girls.”

Mr Brogan revealed his utter devastation after hearing the news had broken on social media before there was time for police to inform the next-of-kin.

“I live in Claudy and my partner and I were on our way to Letterkenny when my sister-in-law rang.

“She said there had been a fire in my daughter’s house and it was up on Facebook that my daughters were killed in the fire.

“That’s how I found out. Facebook knew before the family knew.”

The blaze broke out in the semi-detached house on Friday morning. The alarm was raised when a man who had been sleeping in the house managed to escape shortly after 11am.

It is understood the man was in a bedroom at the back of the two-storey house and tried to get the women out of the room they were both in but was beaten back by smoke and flames.

Gardai are investigating the cause of the fatal blaze, which is not believed to be suspicious. Unconfirmed reports have suggested the fire started in a downstairs sitting room and spread through the ceiling to the bedroom upstairs where the two sisters were sleeping side by side. One report suggested the fire was started accidentally by a cooking appliance, possibly a chip pan.

Gardai sealed off the house for a technical examination and investigations are continuing to establish the exact cause.

Fire crews who rushed to the scene found the two sisters in an upstairs room. Angie died at the scene and Jolene - who is believed to have been renting the house - was pronounced dead on arrival at Letterkenny General Hospital.

There were emotional scenes as distraught relatives of the two sisters gathered at the scene yesterday.

There has been widespread sympathy for the family across the North West in the wake of the double tragedy.

Mayor of Letterkenny, Councillor Pascal Blake, said the community was in shock but would rally around the family.