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Family of fire victim travel home for funeral

Published: 25 Oct 2012 13:000 comments

A well-liked father-of-three James Murray, whose death occurred in a weekend fire tragedy, will be laid to rest following his funeral service which will be held tomorrow morning, Friday at St. Mary's Church, Newtownbutler.

James Murray.

Police investigating the death of Mr. Murray, in a fire near Newtownbutler early on Sunday, are keen to hear from anyone who saw the blaze. Jimmy, as he was known, was found in his home by firefighters shortly after 7am on Sunday.

The cause of the fire has not yet been established, however police believe that due to its severity it must have been burning for some time before it was reported.

A spokesman said: "The flames were probably visible from the nearby Clones to Newtownbutler road. If you were on that road between 8pm on Saturday and 7am on Sunday, detectives in Enniskillen would, like to hear from you." The number to call is 0845 600 8000.

Mr. Tim Richmond, a Station Commander with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service reported that three appliances, two from Lisnaskea and one from Enniskillen attended the scene. He explained that he got the call about 6.50am on Sunday morning and he was the first in attendance at the single storey property. He arrived within 10 minutes of receiving the call, and reported that when he got there, there was a major fire at the house and the roof had collapsed at that stage which showed that the fire had been going for some time.

Subsequently teams worked in very difficult circumstances to carry out a search for the occupant of the house, said Mr. Richmond, who added that subsequently a casualty was located.

He said yesterday, Wednesday that the NI Fire and Rescue Service in co-operation with the PSNI are carrying out ongoing fire investigations to ascertain the cause of the fire. On behalf of the NIFRS, Mr. Richmond extended their sympathy to the family circle at this very difficult time and said that their thoughts are with them.

A native of Newtownbutler, Jimmy, who was 60 in May past, was one in a family of 12, three boys (one brother Michael is deceased) and nine girls of the late Packie and Jane-Ann Murray. (Jane-Ann only passed away in July past.)

The fourth oldest in the family, he was raised in the townland of Tattintonegan, Rosslea. In 1975 he married Maureen McAdam from Newtownbutler and they lived at Kilroot, Newtownbutler and had a family of three, two girls and a boy - Ann, Fiona, and Paul.

Fiona and Paul travelled back from England on Tuesday and Ann was on her way back from Australia, arriving yesterday, Wednesday.

Jimmy's brother Patrick, speaking this week, said that Jimmy, a plasterer by trade, was a private man who kept to himself.

He was proud of what he had done and of his family, said Patrick. A well-liked man, he mentioned that there was a lot of shock in the community following his death. He was the heart and soul of a group of men in a bit of banter, felt Patrick.

Patrick described the fire as a "terrible tragedy" and that it destroys everything. "It ravages property and belongings and destroys mementoes," he said, adding that it "makes the cause of death very difficult."

Paying tribute to his younger brother, he described him as "a good guy" and that he had been tragically taken from them. He said they were very appreciative of the support of the community at this time.

According to Patrick, the funeral was coming from Belfast last night, Wednesday to St. Mary's Church, Newtownbutler to lie in repose in the church and that the wake will take place there this afternoon, Thursday, from 1pm to 6pm in the restroom. The funeral will then be held at 11am tomorrow, Friday, at St. Mary's Church, led by the Rev. Fr. Michael King, Parish Priest. Burial will take place in the adjoining cemetery.

Mr. Murray's death as a result of a house fire came just over a week after the death of a mother in a house fire in Enniskillen.

On Friday night, October 12, 42-year-old Catherine Williamson lost her life following a fire in her home at Windmill Heights.

Responding to Mr. Murray's death, MLA Mr. Tom Elliott extended his sympathies. He said: "This is another tragedy for the people of Fermanagh in what has been a particularly sad week for the entire community. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time."

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