Family thankful for support after fatal fire

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 14:25 19/11/2012

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The family of a man who died in a fire in Ashburton say they are still coming to terms with the tragedy.

Neil Donald Molloy, 56, was found in a work shed at the back of his Bryant St property, in Tinwald, by fire crews on Friday morning.

The oldest of his three children, Damon Molloy, said the close-knit family were still coming to terms with his death but felt fortunate to have received a lot of support from the community.

He said the family were hopeful the coroner's report would provide some answers surrounding his dad's death.

Molloy his dad had been a mechanic since he left school and specialised in farm machinery, but could turn his hand at anything mechanical.

He described him as a hard-working, loyal, determined and proud person.

"He was one of those sort of people where his work was his passion. Anything mechanical he lived and breathed it. It was almost at times an obsession."

Molloy said his dad suffered a life-threatening head injury in 1999 when he fell off a roof while cleaning the spouting and was in a coma for more than two weeks.

"But he wouldn't let things beat him. He was a very determined and stubborn person," he said.

Molloy said his dad was quite mischievous and liked a good practical joke.

He also had an interest in hockey, and previously played and coached for the Tinwald team, he said.

Neil's funeral is to be held on Wednesday.

Fire safety officer Graham Davies, who investigated the blaze, found the cause to be accidental. He could not provide any further details.

He said the coroner would make a formal determination regarding the fire.

Davies said there were no smoke alarms in the office of the engineering workshop, where the man lived.

"We don't know if he was asleep at the time, but there was a bed in there.

"It could've been a different outcome with working smoke alarms in there," Davies said.

The Fire Service was called to the blaze just after 6am.

Southern Fire Communications shift manager Karl Patterson said: "Two trucks went down to the fire after reports of smoke. It wasn't well ablaze at that time. They removed one person from the building but he unfortunately has since died."

It was not known if Neil had died from smoke inhalation or burns.

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