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Monday, July 03, 2006

Inquest launched into Raheen womans death six years ago

"All you could hear was the fire and things crackling, the floorboards, walls, paint, it was just crazy" - survivor

An inquest has been launched into the deaths of 15 people including a Raheen woman, who died when the hostel they were staying in was set on fire.

The incident happened in an Australian hostel six years ago. 24 year-old Limerick woman Julie O’Keefe was one of the 15 who couldn’t escape the flames and smoke.

A Homeless man, Robert Long was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to life.

However a coroner’s inquest into the tragedy has reopened this week to see if charges should be brought against the owners of the Hostel which was located in Queensland.

Fire officials gave an account during the inquest this week of how they found charred bodies under a window blocked with steel bars, and a bunk bed blocked the room’s only emergency exit.

It is scheduled to run all week with findings possibly to be handed down by next Friday.

Relatives of the Limerick victim are expected to attend.

BBC News Story on the fire back in 2000.

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