Police in Ireland claimed on Saturday that an explosion at a gas station in the northwest may have been the result of a “tragic accident,” which may have killed ten people, including a schoolgirl.
The explosion took place on Friday about 3:20 pm (1520 GMT) in the village of Creeslough in County Donegal, according to a press conference held on Saturday by the Irish police, the Garda Siochana.
Police reported that there were ten casualties, including four men, three women, two teenagers (a boy and a girl) and a smaller girl, all of whom appeared to be locals.
No one is still missing, according to the force, thus an increase in the death toll was not anticipated.
Even while they are treating the situation “open-mindedly,” police stated that “our knowledge at this time is leaning towards a terrible accident.”
The investigation into the incident’s causes will take precedence when the search and recovery effort is finished.
The night was spent in rescue operations by Ireland’s emergency services after the explosion destroyed an apartment complex and a gas station forecourt nearby.
The structure housing the gas station was destroyed, as seen in an aerial shot taken after the explosion.
The exterior of a comparable building next door was destroyed, and two two-story apartment buildings behind it had collapsed.
Kieran Gallagher, a local who lives around 150 meters (500 feet) away from the explosion, described it as sounding like a “bomb.”
“I was in my house at the time and heard the explosion. Instantly I knew it was something — it was like a bomb going off,” he told the BBC.
Father John Joe Duffy stated during a ceremony on Saturday morning at the nearby church that the neighborhood had been rocked by “a tsunami of grief.”
Numerous emergency vehicles from both sides of the border with British-run Northern Ireland stayed at the scene throughout the night.
A coastguard helicopter evacuated several of the injured from Letterkenny University Hospital to the capital Dublin for additional treatment. Gardai and civil defense officers were also involved.
Stunned and dazed
The university hospital was put on emergency footing to handle “multiple injuries,” according to a statement from the facility, which is around 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the explosion.
Micheal Martin, the prime minister of Ireland, briefly addressed the media before going to the scene and described it as a “very tragic day.”
Being such a tiny community, he explained, “the scope and enormity of it means that practically everyone will know the people who have lost their lives on a friendly basis.”
“Ireland and the people of Donegal are facing a very sad day.”
After arrival, Martin addressed the emergency service personnel and expressed his appreciation for their work.
He stated of the incident, “We definitely need to get to the bottom of all that.
“We do not want to see this level of mortality and injury occur as people go about their regular lives.
“Two teenagers and a young child in the store lose their lives,” he continued. “This community has suffered greatly as a result of this terrible, awful tragedy,”
Charlie McConalogue, Ireland’s agriculture minister and a member of parliament for northeast Donegal, compared the scenes to those that occurred during the island of Ireland’s protracted sectarian strife over British administration in Northern Ireland.
According to McConalogue information disbursed to Irish broadcaster RTE, “they are stunned and dazed.”
“The scenes from the event, in terms of the scene on the ground, the destruction, and the debris, are reminiscent of the photographs from The Troubles years ago.”
With a population of roughly 400, Creeslough is about 30 miles (50 km) from the Northern Ireland border.
The Applegreen gas station is located along the N56 highway, which circles the northernmost point of the Irish Republic.
Applegreen described the news as “devastating” in a tweet.
The corporation expressed its support for the injured, the broader Creeslough community, and the families and friends of the deceased.