Victim named after blaze found by chance

Nicky Brownlee, 28, died following a house fire in Cookstown
Nicky Brownlee, 28, died following a house fire in Cookstown

A 28-year-old man who died following a fire in Co Tyrone has been named locally as Nicky Brownlee.

The blaze, which is believed to have been started accidentally, broke out at a flat in Queens Avenue, Cookstown, during the early hours of Friday morning.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) were initially called to the scene just after 2.30am, following a report of a carbon monoxide alarm sounding in a flat.

While in attendance firefighters noticed blackened windows in a neighbouring first floor flat.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered that property and rescued a man from the living room of the flat. Sadly he died at the scene. A fire in the kitchen of the property had burnt itself out,” an NIFRS spokesperson said. The cause is under investigation.

Firefighters also carried out gas readings in the flat that the initial call was received to, and low levels of carbon monoxide were detected as a result of the fire in the neighbouring property.

The spokesperson added: “Firefighters dealt with this. One adult and two children were out of the flat on arrival of fire crews.”

Three fire appliances were in attendance at these incidents, two from Cookstown and one from Dungannon fire station.

Extending its sympathies to the victim’s family, the NIFRS said the tragic incident, which occurred during Fire Safety Week 2018, “emphasises the importance of following our basic fire safety advice, including having working smoke alarms and the need to test them once a week”.

UUP councillor Trevor Wilson expressed his sadness at the death, adding it has come as a “shock” to the local community.

It comes six weeks after Susan Henry, aged in her 60s, died at Drum Road, Cookstown, after a carbon monoxide leak.