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N.J. blaze kills Dublin man

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

A young Dublin man, who had only arrived in the United States 10 weeks ago, was killed after a fire ripped through his New Jersey apartment building early Sunday morning.

Joe Mooney, who was 21, died in the fire at his South Orange home. Fire officers were called to Mooney’s Randolph Place apartment just before 3 a.m. Sunday, where a fire had started in the third floor of the residential building, said Fire Director Frank Gallagher.

Officials said the fire appeared to be accidental, although the incident remains under investigation.

The city prosecutor’s office spokeswoman would not confirm the identity of the deceased, but local residents and friends confirmed that Finglas native Joseph Mooney had died in the blaze.

A soccer fanatic, who was known as "Dublin Joey," Mooney had come to the U.S. weeks ago to play the sport and find some work, said John Connolly, who worked in construction with Mooney.

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"He came out to play soccer for a while and make some money," Connolly said. "I was just talking to him on Friday. He was a jovial fellow. He was just talking about going back home."

Fr. Tom Flynn of the Aisling Irish Center said Mooney had stayed for a week with friends from home in Yonkers before moving to New Jersey.

"The family are very distraught over the whole affair," Flynn said.

Connolly said Mooney had been out for a few drinks with some friends on Saturday when he returned home to an apartment he shared with a friend. He was alone there when the fire broke out. Mooney’s body will be flown back to Ireland for a funeral on Thursday.

A benefit will be held to defray the costs of the burial on Thursday, May 25, at 8 p.m. at Cryan’s, 24 First St., South Orange. Details, (973) 763-7114.

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