Bodies found at scene of fire identified as Irish students

Pic: Kirsten Simons / Twitter

Belgian police have confirmed that the two bodies found at the scene of a fire in Leuven are those of two Irish students.

The two Irish students killed have been named as 19-year-old Dace Zarina and 22-year-old Sara Gibadlo. Both of the women were on ERASMUS work placements from Galway Mayo IT.

Eight other students escaped, some onto the roof of the building, and were rescued but authorities said at the time that the two others had not been accounted for.

Belgian police say they are now working out the cause of the fire.

The Irish Ambassador has arrived in Leuven to liaise with the students and the authorities.

Jens Franssen, a journalist with Belgium's VRT, said that the eight students rescued have been receiving medical attention.

"They were taken to the local police department," he said.

"They have been taken to hospital - not because they're injured, not because they have wounds - but it's a standard procedure to have a full physical and mental check after a disaster like this."

The Irish College was founded by the Irish Franciscan’s in 1607 and was one of a series of such colleges where Irish priests were trained.

The Leuven college was given to the Irish state over 30 years ago by the order and recently underwent a major redevelopment and was officially inaugurated by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny last year.

Both the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, and GMIT have offered their condolences to the girls' families, with college spokesperson Cait Noon saying GMIT is devastated at the loss of two "talented young students who were bright, creative young girls."

Additional reporting by Ann Cahill, Europe Correspondent, Irish Examiner

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