A verdict of accidental death was recorded at inquest of a popular Killarney businessman who was killed in a gas explosion almost three years ago.
62-year-old James Gleeson of Countess Grove died as a result of injuries received in the explosion at his launderette business on Brewery Lane on July 13th, 2013.
James Gleeson had planned to travel to Killkenny to join his wife Grace O’Neill and their son Eoin, who were visiting relatives.
Ms O’Neill told the South Kerry Coroner’s Court she last spoke to her husband on the evening before his death to finalise travel arrangements.
Garda Adrian O’Driscoll told the inquest a call was received at Killarney Garda Station at 6.20am on July 13th that an explosion had occurred.
When he arrived at the scene he said the area was covered in debris and Gleeson’s launderette was completely destroyed.
There was a strong smell of gas and the area had to be evacuated.
Garda forensic investigator James O’Brien said the town centre was a scene of devastation. Mr Gleeson was the only one not accounted for after all local residents and guests at the International Hotel were reported to be safe.
Emergency service personnel worked tirelessly to secure nearby buildings.
Mr Gleeson’s remains were found buried under rubble the following morning and identified by his lifelong friend John Maguire.
Dr Margot Bolster carried out a post-mortem at Kerry General Hospital.
Coroner Terence Casey, who attended the scene and had known the deceased since they were children, paid tribute to neighbours in Killarney town centre who had stood by the family even though their own premises were damaged.