Irish schoolboy who saved his young nephew from fire that killed 10 people to receive bravery award
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Irish schoolboy who saved his young nephew from fire that killed 10 people to receive bravery award

AN Irish teenager who rescued his nephew from a deadly fire which left ten others dead is to be honoured for his bravery.

John Keith Connors was aged just 14 when he pulled his four-year-old nephew Tom Connors through the broken window of a burning mobile home at Glenamuck halting site, Carrickmines in October 2015.

Tragically, ten people from three different families could not be saved from the blaze. Five of the victims were children, one aged just six months.

An inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court on Tuesday returned verdicts of misadventure in relation to the deaths.

In a list of six recommendations, the inquest's jury of eight men and four women commended John Keith for his courageous act and recommended that he receive a national bravery award.

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Unspeakable tragedy

Thomas Connors (27), his wife Sylvia (30) and their children Jim, aged five, Christy, three, and six-month-old Mary all perished in the fire.

Willie Lynch (25) and his brother Jimmy (39) also died, along with Willie's partner Tara Gilbert (27) and their daughters Jodie, nine, and Kelsey.

Owing to his rescue, Tom was one of just two surviving Connors children alongside his six-year-old brother Mick. Their parents and three of their siblings were among the dead.

Relatives wept in court yesterday as verdicts of misadventure were noted following five days of harrowing evidence into the blaze.

Autopsies found the adult victims had been drinking and Deputy State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said alcohol may have affected their reaction times.

GardaĆ­ submitted a file to the DPP following an investigation but it was decided no charges should be brought.

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'Never forgotten'

Solicitor Patrick McCormack read a joint statement on behalf of the Connors, Lynch and Gilbert families, which said: "To lost loved ones, they are always missed, always loved and never forgotten.

"The families wish to express their sincere gratitude and thanks to the first responders, GardaĆ­, ambulance and fire brigade crews who attended the scene.

"To family friends and members of the public for their support and kind words, thank you."

Coroner Myra Cullinane praised the families for conducting themselves with "great dignity" since the tragedy.

Among the jury's other recommendations were new fire safety guidelines and the nomination of a safety champion for all halting sites across the country.