Three children among victims, Ireland still in shock after horrific explosion at gas station
Two teenagers and a girl under 10 victims
“Shocking and tragic”: Ireland’s prime minister called on Saturday to shed light on the explosion at a gas station that killed ten people, including three children, the day before in a small village in the northwest.
The explosion occurred at around 3:20pm (2:20pm GMT) in the village of Creeslough on Friday. ‘She had ten victims’said a police officer at a press conference.
They are four men, three women, two teenagers (a boy and a girl) and a girl, of primary school age, he explained.
The favorite accident track
“The information we have at the moment points to a tragic accident”, he said again, seemingly ruling out a voluntary act. But the police love “an open mind”.
“We do not expect that there will be any other casualties” added this manager. There is no information on missing persons. An aerial photo taken after the blast shows the destroyed gas station and two collapsed two-storey apartment buildings.
“Like a Bomb”
“It Was Like a Bomb”told the BBC a local resident, Kieran Gallagher, whose house was about 150 yards away and was at his home when he heard an explosion. Emergency services, accompanied by sniffer dogs to locate victims, worked through the night.
The rubble was further collected on Saturday while a mass was being celebrated at the church of the village destroyed by “a tsunami of sadness”said Father John Joe Duffy.
“Very Dark Day”
“It’s a very dark day for Donegal (the county where Creeslough is located, editor’s note) and for Ireland”a “truly shocking and tragic event”regretted Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin who arrived on the scene in the afternoon.
“The magnitude and enormity of what has happened in such a small town means that almost everyone knows someone who has lost their life”he noticed.
The village of Creelough, which lies about fifty kilometers from the border with Northern Ireland, has about 400 inhabitants. “We need to highlight all of this”he added, thanking the rescuers. “There are a number of deaths and injuries that we no longer want to see happen as people go about their daily lives.”
Many emergency services requested
Irish Police, Fire, Ambulance and Coast Guard were supported on Saturday by the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Service and a team of specialists from the British province.
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”.
Devastation scenes that bring back memories
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, an elected member of the Irish parliament 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 in terms of damage and debris to images from ‘The Troubles’ years ago.”
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 claimed the lives of approximately 3,500 people.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who died, those who were injured and the entire Creeslough community”tweeted the company Applegreen, which owns the gas station hit by the explosion, saying to itself: “upset”.