Man who died after falling from bonfire in Larne named as father of two John Steele

Man who died after falling from bonfire in Larne named as father of two John Steele

A MAN who died after falling from a bonfire in Larne in Co Antrim has been named locally as father of two John Steele.

The incident happened at the site of the Antiville Bonfire in the Fairway area.

The structure, comprising of wooden pallets, is believed to have been around 50ft tall.

Mr Steele, who was in his thirties, was born and raised in Antiville and was described as well-respected in the community and well known for his window cleaning, UTV reports.

The bonfire which Mr Steele fell from has since been dismantled.

Commenting on the incident, politicians offered their condolences to the family of the deceased.

"Heartbreaking news that a young man has lost his life in a fall from a bonfire," said Alliance Party leader Naomi Long.

Her party colleague Stewart Dickson, MLA for East Antrim, added: "Sad news from Larne as a young man died after falling from a 11th night bonfire being built in Antiville.

"My deepest sympathy goes to his family and friends and the whole community as it reflects on this tragic death."

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney said the news was very sad and tragic and offered his thoughts with the young man's family.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said he hopes the death of Mr Steele is not used as a “political opportunity” by those who wish to remove bonfires from Twelfth of July celebrations.

Speaking on Good Morning Ulster this morning, Mr Wilson who is MP for the area, said:

“We should remember a family which is grieving… I’m sure when they look at that site they will be reminded of the loss of their son or their father. “

“John was well known in the community; he’s remembered as always helping with the bonfire. It’s a community loss.

“What I do hope is that his death will not be used as a political opportunity by those who wish to stamp out Unionist culture in Northern Ireland and bonfires.”

Alliance Party MLA Danny Donnelly said discussion relating to regulation of the bonfires can take place at a later date.

"This is something that has touched the community and we can just leave that for the minute," he said.

However, he said he hoped that going forward "bonfire builders are as safe as they can be, and their events pass safely tonight.”