“Shocking and tragic”: The Irish prime minister called on Saturday for clarification on the explosion of a service station that killed ten people, including three children, the previous day in a small town in the northwest.
The explosion occurred around 3:20 p.m. (14:20 GMT) in the town of Creeslough on Friday. “He had ten victims”a police officer said at a news conference.
They are four men, three women, two adolescents (a boy and a girl) and a girl, of primary school age, he explained.
Favorite crash track
“The information we have at the moment points to a tragic accident”he said again, seeming to rule out a voluntary act. But the police continue “an open mind”.
“We don’t expect there to be other victims,” this official added. There is no information on missing persons. An aerial photograph taken after the blast shows the gas station destroyed and two two-story apartment buildings collapsed.
“Like a Bomb”
“It was like a bomb”said to BBC a local resident, Kieran Gallagher, whose house is about 150 meters away and in his house when he heard an explosion. The emergency services, accompanied by sniffer dogs to locate victims, worked throughout the night.
On Saturday the rubble collection continued while a mass was celebrated in the church of the town destroyed by “a tsunami of pain”Priest John Joe Duffy said.
“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”lamented the Irish Prime Minister, Michael Martin, who went to the place in the afternoon.
“The scale and enormity of what happened in such a small town means almost everyone knows someone who lost their life.”He noticed.
The town of Creelough, which is about fifty kilometers from the border with Northern Ireland, has about 400 inhabitants. “We have to shed light on all this”he added, as he thanked rescuers. “There are a number of deaths and injuries that we no longer want to happen as people go about their daily lives.”
Many requested emergency services
Irish police, firefighters, ambulance services and the coastguard were supported by the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Service as well as a specialist team from the British province 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”.
Scenes of devastation that bring back memories
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, an elected member of the Irish parliament from the blast-affected region, compared the scenes of devastation to those of the conflict in Northern Ireland in the second half of the 20th century.
“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.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who were killed, those who were injured and the entire Creeslough community.”tweeted the Applegreen company, which owns the gas station affected by the explosion and told itself “upset”.