Castlewellan fire claims life of young woman

NI Fire and Rescue Service
NI Fire and Rescue Service

A young woman has died following a weekend fire at a flat in Co Down.

The 19-year-old was in the Lower Square property in Castlewellan around 4am when the blaze was spotted and the alarm raised.

More than 20 firefighters tackled the fire but were unable to save the occupant.

NI Fire and Rescue said there was no smoke alarm fitted in the flat.

Group Commander Max Joyce said his officers battled to save the teenager:

“When we arrived there was smoke issuing from the property above a butcher’s shop.

“We deployed two breathing apparatus teams and one very quickly located a young female casualty and brought her downstairs to an area of safety,” he told Cool FM.

“They fought hard to get through the flames and to keep her alive alongside NIAS and PSNI officers but unfortunately she was declared dead at the scene.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge anyone who doesn’t have a smoke alarm to get one today as we cannot have another tragedy like this one,” Mr Joyce added.

The cause of the fire has not yet been established.

SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said the tragedy is a blow to the local community.

“I want to offer my sympathy on my own behalf and on behalf of the wider community of Castlewellan and south Down to the family of the young girl who died.

“At this time we want to concentrate on the family, the parents and the wider community who have lost a cherished daughter.

“Such an incident is very tragic particularly in the new year when all of us are looking forward with hope and expectation.”