Police announced at noon that the death toll had risen from seven to nine. “The search for other victims continues”, she added. Eight people were hospitalized.
The police, however, did not give an explanation about the origin of this explosion, which occurred on Friday afternoon in the town of Creeslough.
An aerial photograph taken after the explosion shows the gas station building destroyed. Two two-story residential buildings behind him collapsed.
Neighborhood resident Kieran Gallagher, whose home is about 150 meters from the scene, said the blast made him think of a “bomb”: “I was at home when I heard an explosion. (…) It was like a bomb”He told the BBC.
Emergency services worked throughout the night. Debris continued to be picked up on Saturday.
Irish police, fire, ambulance and coastguard services, the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Service and a specialist team from the British province were at the scene on Saturday.
Letterkenny University Hospital, located 15 miles from the service station, has been placed on emergency duty and said in a statement that it was treating “multiple wounds”.
damage and debris
In a statement, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said that “His thoughts and prayers (were) today with those who lost their lives and those who were injured in this devastating explosion”.
“The people of the island will be affected by the same sense of shock and utter devastation as the people of Creeslough by this tragic loss of life.”he said, thanking the members of the emergency services who worked “all night under extremely traumatic circumstances”.
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, who is an elected official for the blast-affected region, compared the scenes of devastation to those of the Northern Ireland conflict in the second half of the 20th century. “The scenes from 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 pitted mainly Catholic nationalists, supporters of the reunification of the island of Ireland, against loyalists, mainly Protestants, committed to keeping the province under the British crown. This conflict had killed about 3,500 people.
The town of Creelough, which is about fifty kilometers from the border with Northern Ireland, has about 400 inhabitants.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who died, to those who have been injured and to the entire Creeslough community”tweeted the Applegreen company, which owns the gas station affected by the explosion.