“Shocking and tragic”: Irish Prime Minister called on Saturday to shed light on a gas station explosion that killed ten people the day before, including three children in a small northwestern village.
The blast occurred around 3:20 pm (2:20 pm GMT) in the village of Creeslough on Friday. “He had ten victims”a police official said at a news conference.
There are four men, three women, two teenagers (a boy and a girl) and a girl, of school age, he explained.
Favorite track of the accident
“The information we have at the moment indicates a tragic accident”he said again, seeming to rule out a voluntary act. But the police hold on “an open mind”.
“We do not expect there will be other victims” added this official. There is no information on missing persons. An aerial photograph taken after the explosion shows the destroyed gas station and two collapsed two-story apartment buildings.
“Like a bomb”
“It was like a bomb”he told al BBC a local resident, Kieran Gallagher, whose home is about 150 meters away and his home when he heard an explosion. The emergency services, accompanied by sniffer dogs to find the victims, worked all night.
On Saturday they continued to collect the rubble while a mass was celebrated in the church of the village destroyed by “a tsunami of pain”said the priest John Joe Duffy.
“Very dark day”
“It’s a very dark day for Donegal (the county where Creeslough is located) and for Ireland”a “truly shocking and tragic event”he deplored Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin who arrived on the scene in the afternoon.
“The scale and enormity of what happened in such a small town means that almost everyone knows someone who has lost their life.”he remarked.
The village of Creelough, which is about fifty kilometers from the border with Northern Ireland, has around 400 inhabitants. “We must shed some light on all this”he added, thanking the rescuers. “There are a number of deaths and injuries that we no longer want to see happen when people live their daily lives.”
Many emergency services are required
Irish police, firefighters, ambulance services and the 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, located 24 kilometers from the gas station, was placed in an emergency situation and said in a statement that it was taking care of “multiple wounds”.
Scenes of devastation that bring to mind
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, who is an elected member of the Irish parliament in the region affected by the blast, compared the devastation scenes to those of the Northern Irish conflict in the second half of the 20th century.
“The scenes from the event are reminiscent of images 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, attached to keeping the province under the British crown. This conflict had killed around 3,500 people.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who have died, those who have been injured and the entire community of Creeslough”tweeted the company Applegreen, which owns the gas station hit by the explosion and said it was said “inverted”.