Family and friends attended the joint funeral of a father and son who were labelled as heroes after dying in a fire and saving others from the same fate. Christopher “Sunny” Harte and son Sean, were buried side by side following a funeral Mass at Sligo Cathedral.
The men tragically passed in the early ours of Saturday, April 22nd, after an apartment below where they lived caught fire on Market Street in Sligo, Ireland. At the funeral Mass, attendants heard that the fire woke up Sunny at 5am. He sounded an alarm and alerted others in his building to get out immediately.
After helping his neighbors, Sunny attempted to take his son Sean out of the building. However, the pair were overwhelmed by the smoke and fell by the door of the second floor apartment. They died from smoke inhalation.
Father Stephen Walsh commented that they were found “locked arm in arm.” He continued by saying, “these were two young men, still in the prime of their life who enjoyed good health and were snatched away in a single night.”
“We don’t know yet what happened but Sunny was woke in the middle of the night and smoke had filled the apartment and he shouted out to the others to get out. He saved their lives.”
Father Walsh commented that as well as being father and son, Sunny and Sean were best friends, and they’d be missed by everyone in the community. According to Walsh, Sean was planning on moving out of the apartment that very day.
Loyal fans of Celtic, the soccer club’s anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” played while their coffins carried after the Mass. One relative brought a family photo to the altar and a candle, which symbolized their love for one another and “would continue in their eternal home.” Another relative told the congregation that Sunny was a hero for his bravery.
The tragic event brought an unprecedented layer of sadness to the community of Sligo, but also a feeling of inspiration after Sunny’s heroics.