Wheelchair user Carson Quinn and his dog die in Holywood house fire

Flowers left at the scene after a man died in a fire at a house in the East Link area of Holywood, Co Down. Picture by Ann McManus

Flowers left at the scene after a man died in a fire at a house in the East Link area of Holywood, Co Down. Picture by Ann McManus

A CO Down man who died in a house fire has been described as a “very nice fellow” who “always liked to have a wee chat”.

Carson Quinn, who was in his 50s, died on Saturday morning following a blaze at his home in Holywood.

Neighbours in the East Link area raised the alarm just after 9am after noticing windows of the bungalow blackening.

Mr Quinn, who lived with the condition spina bifida and was wheelchair bound, was found dead at the scene by emergency services.

His dog also died in the blaze.

Forensic officers attended the scene on Saturday and police have confirmed an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.

Mr Quinn has been described as a “well-known and well-liked” member of the community.

Former neighbour Bernadette Beegan spoke of a “happy-go-lucky fellow”.

“I knew him to talk to and he always liked to have a wee chat. He was very nice fellow and my husband and I used to marvel at the way he could use his wheelchair and was able to get in and out of the car,” she said.

Green Party councillor John Barry said the community had been left “devastated” by the death.

 

“I know the estate very well – it’s a very tight-knit, working-class community and there is obviously devastation in terms of the impact and the tragedy of it happening so close to Christmas,” he said.

“From what I have heard he was a very well-known, very well-liked member of the community, it’s just awful.”

North Down DUP MLA Gordon Dunne also said the impact of the sudden death had been felt “right across the community”.

“This tragedy has left a real sense of grief and sadness within the local community particularly as we approach the Christmas period,” he said.

Alliance Holywood councillor Andrew Muir added his sympathies.

“I wish to praise the bravery of the emergency services in their attempts to tackle the fire and rescue this man. I would also encourage anyone with information on this fire to contact the authorities so the cause can be determined.”

The tragedy came just days after the Fire and Rescue Service issued a Christmas fire safety warning.

Over the the Christmas period last year (December 20 2015 – January 6 2016) three people, all aged over 60, died as a result of accidental house fires.

Area Commander Maurice Rafferty said: “Christmas is traditionally a busy time for us. We see the number of fires in the home increase due to extra fire hazards such as candles, fairy tree lights, portable heaters, overloaded sockets and people using fires that have not been lit for some time.

“Over the Christmas period last year we received 1,545 calls and firefighters attended 1,005 incidents across Northern Ireland.”