The toll mounts in the wake of the horrific explosion at a gas station, Ireland in shock

Police announced in the middle of the day that the death toll had risen from seven to nine. ‘The search for other victims continues’she added. Eight people were hospitalized.

However, police gave no explanation as to the origin of this explosion, which took place in the village of Creeslough on Friday afternoon.

An aerial photo taken after the blast shows the destroyed gas station building. Behind it, two two-storey residential buildings collapsed.

Neighbor Kieran Gallagher, whose house is about 150 yards from the crime scene, said the bang reminded him of a “bomb”: “I was at home when I heard an explosion. (…) It was like a bomb”he told the BBC.

Emergency services worked through the night. The debris was picked up on Saturday.

The Irish police, fire brigade, ambulance and coastguard services, the Northern Ireland air ambulance and a team of specialists from the British province were on the scene on Saturday.

Letterkenny University Hospital, 15 miles from the gas station, has been placed in an emergency situation and said in a statement it was taking care of “multiple wounds”.

Damage and debris

In a statement, Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin said: “his thoughts and prayers (were) today with those who lost their lives and those injured in this devastating explosion”.

“The people of the island will be struck with the same sense of shock and utter devastation as the people of Creeslough at this tragic loss of life”he said, thanking the emergency services who were at work “all night in extremely traumatic circumstances”.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, an elected official from the region affected by the blast, compared the devastation caused by the Northern Ireland conflict in the second half of the 20th century. “The scenes of the event are reminiscent of footage from The Troubles years ago, in terms of damage and debris.”

For three decades, the conflict in Northern Ireland opposed nationalists, mainly Catholics, in favor of the reunification of the island of Ireland, and Loyalists, mainly Protestants, who were committed to preserving the province under the British crown. This conflict had resulted in approximately 3,500 deaths.

The village of Creelough, which lies about fifty kilometers from the border with Northern Ireland, has about 400 inhabitants.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the deceased, to those who were injured and to the entire community of Creeslough”tweeted the company Applegreen, which owns the gas station hit by the explosion.