Child among dead after explosion at petrol station in northwest Ireland

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By Euronews
Emergency services work at the scene of an explosion at Applegreen service station in the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal, Ireland, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022
Emergency services work at the scene of an explosion at Applegreen service station in the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal, Ireland, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022   -  Copyright  Credit: AP Photo

At least ten people have been killed following an explosion at a petrol station in northwest Ireland, police said on Saturday.

Four men, three women, a teenage boy and girl, and a young child were killed, according to Gardaí (Irish police).

The explosion happened on Friday afternoon in County Donegal at a petrol station in the village of Creeslough. 

Casualty figures were revised upwards throughout Saturday as emergency services searched for more victims. 

They do not expect to find anyone else, though police remained at the scene. 

Aerial images show the Applegreen service station destroyed, with a two-storey neighbouring apartment in ruins. 

The Gardaí did not give an explanation for the cause of the explosion, which hospitalised eight people -- one of whom is critically ill. 

Information so far pointed towards a tragic accident, they said. 

Kieran Gallagher, who lives around 150 metres 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. 

Irish Police, Fire, Ambulance and Coastguard Services, Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Service and a team of specialists from the British province worked through the night. 

Emergency services remained on site into Saturday, using rescue dogs to look for more people. 

Letterkenny University Hospital, 15 miles from the incident, was placed in an emergency situation and said in a statement it was dealing with a "serious incident" and treating "multiple injuries".

In a statement, Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Micheal Martin said his "thoughts and prayers [are] today with those who lost their lives and those who were injured in this devastating explosion".

“Island residents will be struck with the same sense of shock and utter devastation as the people of Creeslough at this tragic loss of life,” he said, thanking emergency service members who worked "all night under extremely traumatic circumstances". 

In a statement on Twitter, 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 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".

The village of Creelough, some fifty kilometres from the border with Northern Ireland, has about 400 inhabitants.