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Three people dead and multiple injured after 'devastating' explosion at Irish service station
7 October 2022, 19:00 | Updated: 8 October 2022, 09:19
Three people have died and multiple more are believed to be injured after a "devastating" explosion at a Co Donegal service station.
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Emergency services remain at the scene searching the rubble of the Applegreen service station in the village of Creeslough.
In a statement issued late on Friday night, the Irish police force, An Garda Siochana, confirmed there had been three fatalities but said they were "not in a position to provide further information on casualties at this time".
Sniffer dogs were being used at the explosion site as emergency workers comb the rubble.
A crowd of around 30 local people were gathered behind the police lines, watching in hushed silence.
Nina Gabel, 35, described distressing scenes at the cordon.
"There was one woman who didn't know where her daughter was and she was very upset," she said.
"There are emergency services everywhere, there were so many gardai and fire engines.
"What looked like local farmers' tractors were helping to dig out the rubble."
Father John Joe Duffy, the local Catholic priest, asked people across the country to pray for them.
"Everyone is numb, devastated, it's very much looking at the unknown at this time, and we're just broken hearted, everyone is broken hearted, we're lost for words," he said.
Multiple emergency service vehicles are in attendance while a Coastguard helicopter was also providing support.
Letterkenny University Hospital has moved to major emergency standby, and appealed to the public not to attend its emergency department unless it is urgent.
"Please contact your GP or NowDoc service in the first instance. NowDoc has increased staffing this evening to help deal with any additional demands," it said.
Applegreen said in a short statement earlier that it is "aware of a serious incident at its dealer-operated location at Creeslough".
Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty told RTE News that it was after 3pm when the "devastating" explosion took place that has left "a very very dark cloud" over the community.
"It ripped right through this building, and this was a very busy location at that point in time.
"Three o'clock, it's just after school, people were going to collect their pensions. This is a very very very busy locality here at this shop, this petrol station, this deli, the post office at this time.
"There's just quiet, it's surreal. People are just holding on for hope, holding on to hear news, positive news coming from the emergency services."
Local councillor Donal Mandy Kelly said the news was "devastating".
He said: "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved."
Serious explosion reported at a fuel station in Cresslough in Donegal . pic.twitter.com/NE8jzIbp5C— Padraig OBrien (@padnandos1) October 7, 2022
Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty described the explosion as "your worst nightmare".
"This is a quiet village, a very close knit village, this is the only shop, it's the petrol station, it's the deli counter, it's the post office, it's where the hair dresser is, and at 3.15pm this afternoon a massive explosion that could be heard for miles around ripped right through this building, and it's very sombre here," he told the BBC.
"There are silent prayers being said, there are people still trapped within the building and the emergency services are doing everything that they can to remove the rubble, and people are being airlifted away to our hospitals in the region.
"This is a dark dark cloud over the entire community of Cresslough and further afield today as this scene unfolds before us."