Three dead, others trapped as explosion rocks petrol station in Ireland

Posted by News Express | 8 October 2022 | 692 times

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Three people have died as a result of an explosion in County Donegal, Gardaí (Irish police) have said.

It happened at an Applegreen petrol station in the village of Creeslough on Friday afternoon.

A number of people are being treated for injuries. Earlier Sinn Féin TD for Donegal, Pearse Doherty, said that there were still people trapped.

Gardaí said it was an ongoing operation and they were not able to provide more information on casualties at this time.

In a statement, Letterkenny University Hospital said it was dealing with "a serious incident involving multiple injured people requiring immediate attention".

It said it had moved to "major emergency standby" as it dealt with the incident.


"We are appealing to the public not to come to the Emergency Department unless it is an emergency. Please contact your GP or NOW doc service in the first instance," the statement added.

"NowDoc has increased staffing this evening to help deal with any additional demands."

Emergency services from Northern Ireland have been assisting in rescue efforts.

Aerial view of Applegreen in CreesloughIMAGE SOURCE,NORTH WEST NEWSPIX
Image caption,
Creeslough is a small village in County Donegal near Letterkenny

Creeslough is a small village in the Republic of Ireland and is about 15 miles from Letterkenny and 30 miles from the border with Northern Ireland.

In a statement on Twitter the Applegreen company said the news was "devastating".

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the deceased, those who have been injured, and the wider Creeslough community," they tweeted.

The company said that that the supermarket and Applegreen outlet had been operated by local partners at "the heart of the community".

"Like the rest of Ireland, tonight we stand in solidarity with that community."

'Darkest of days for Donegal'

The Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin expressed his sympathies to the family and friends of those who had died and to the entire community of Creeslough, on this "darkest of days for Donegal and the entire country."

"People across this island will be numbed by the same sense of shock and utter devastation as the people of Creeslough at this tragic loss of life," he added.

He thanked members of the emergency services, from across the north-west and Northern Ireland.

He said they were "working throughout the night in extremely traumatic circumstances."


Adrian MacAuley from Londonderry owns an apartment behind the petrol station.

"The place seems to be devastated," he said.

"Our thoughts are with anybody that was injured in it because Creeslough is a fantastic community," he added.

Local resident Kieran Gallagher
Image caption,
Local resident Kieran Gallagher heard the bang from his house

Local resident Kieran Gallagher's house is about 150 yards from the scene.

"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 said.

He has since been helping with the aftermath, directing traffic and helping the emergency services.

"Everywhere from everywhere around Creeslough are here to help. All the businessesmen and workmen are here - we have to be strong and help each other through this.

'Dark cloud over Creeslough'

Earlier on Friday, Pearse Doherty described the incident as "the worst nightmare" for the families.

"This is a quiet, close-knit village and this is the only shop on the town. It's the petrol station, it's the deli counter and the Post Office is there too," he said.

Emergency services at the scene
Image caption,
The emergency services have been at the scene since Friday afternoon

"At quarter past three a massive explosion, which could be heard for miles around ripped right through the building.

"There are people still trapped in the building and emergency services are doing everything they can," he said.

"People are being airlifted away to our hospitals," he added.

'A waiting game'

Donegal Fine Gael TD (Member of the Irish parliament the Dáil) Joe McHugh said people in the area were "numb" with shock.

"They're trying to find out about friends and relatives and playing a waiting game for news," he told BBC News NI.

"It's a very surreal situation here and we know there will be a difficult times ahead.

"The building is somewhere people meet. It is a tragedy".

Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian, told BBC News NI everyone in the county was "shocked and shaken beyond words".

Speaking from the scene, he said Creeslough was a "peaceful and quiet town" and it was a "terrible day".

"There is a dark cloud over Creeslough as this scene unfolds before us - it is very sombre here and there are silent prayers being said."

Damage to ApplegreenIMAGE SOURCE,TG4

Donegal independent councillor John O'Donnell said his understanding was that the incident was caused by a gas explosion.

"A lot of people are very seriously injured - we haven't heard numbers yet," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme on Friday afternoon.

'The place is in chaos'

"There are three helicopters at the scene - we have the mountain rescue helicopter, we have the RNLI and we also have the army helicopter.

"The feedback I am getting from family and friends who are unfortunately down at the scene and in the area is that the whole place is chaos at the minute. Everybody is very taken aback and devastated at what is happening.

"There is a large-scale rescue operation on the way and it is something that we haven't seen in the area in my lifetime. It's very traumatising for everybody."

The Shandon Hotel in Dunfanaghy said some of its team members have been "directly affected" by the incident.

The hotel said their staff have offered to help "in any way we can by way of accommodation and supplies for the emergency service workers drafted in to assist in this tragic incident". (BBC, excluding headline))


Source: News Express

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