Heroic neighbour overcome in fire

PORTLAOISE gardaí are investigating a fire that occurred in the town’s Coote Street in the early hours of Tuesday morning, in which a passer-by who bravely entered the building believing that someone was trapped inside was overcome by smoke and taken to hospital.

PORTLAOISE gardaí are investigating a fire that occurred in the town’s Coote Street in the early hours of Tuesday morning, in which a passer-by who bravely entered the building believing that someone was trapped inside was overcome by smoke and taken to hospital.

Laois Fire Service has confirmed that two units were dispatched to tackle the blaze at around 2.53am, one crew from Portlaoise and one from Stradbally. The fire occurred in an apartment within a house on Coote Street where thankfully no one was home at the time.

However, while the apartment was unoccupied, a neighbour from the area, fearing that there may have been people trapped inside, risked his own life to enter the building. The man was overcome by smoke fumes and passed out and Mr Power has revealed that two firefighters had to rescue him from the burning building.

The man was removed from the apartment and resuscitated by ambulance staff, before he was taken to hospital. It is not believed that he was seriously injured.

Mr Power has said that the fire seems to have been isolated to one room in the apartment and was soon brought under control, although the heat was such that the smoke detectors melted from the blaze.

A spokesperson from Portlaoise Garda Station has confirmed that there is no evidence of a break in at the building and gardaí do not believe the fire was started deliberately. They are currently investigating the incident.