The Irish premier has paid tribute to the victims of a petrol station explosion in Donegal in Ireland as the names of some of the 10 people killed began to emerge.
“The entire nation is mourning and deeply saddened,” he said.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin, who visited the site of the explosion on Saturday evening, said the entire nation is mourning following the tragedy. Mr Martin Martin said the incident was an unspeakable tragedy for a small community of just a few hundred people.
He spoke to members of the emergency services who worked for 24 hours to locate victims following the explosion.
Ten people were killed in the explosion – four men, three women, a teenage boy, a teenage girl, and another younger girl.
The blast happened shortly after 3 pm local time (1400 GMT) on Friday at the Applegreen petrol station on the outskirts of the village of Creeslough.
Police said earlier that eight people had been injured. No more casualties are expected from the explosion.
The dead, who were all from the local area, also included four men and three women. Eight people are being treated in hospital, including one with critical injuries who was airlifted to Dublin.
Photographs from the scene showed a residential unit above the service station’s store with walls blown out and a partially collapsed roof, and debris scattered across the forecourt where several cars were parked.
The blast ripped through the petrol station forecourt and a nearby apartment complex.
Two two-storey residential buildings behind had collapsed, while the facade of a similar adjacent building was blown off.
Resident Kieran Gallagher, whose house is just 150m from the scene, said the blast sounded like a “bomb”. “I was in my house at the time and heard the explosion,” he told the BBC.
“We have to keep an open mind as a police service in how we investigate this but our information at this point in time is pointing towards a tragic accident,” Superintendent David Kelly told a news conference.
(Picture Courtesy: SocialBizMediaIreland/Reuters)