An explosion ripped through a busy petrol station in a small village in County Donegal, northwest Ireland, on Friday afternoon, killing at least 10 people and injuring eight others.
Irish police combed through piles of rubble on Saturday, looking for victims who might be trapped underneath. They said they did not expect more survivors from the explosion.
The dead included four men, three women, two teenagers and a girl of primary school age, police said.
The blast hit shops around the Applegreen petrol station on the outskirts of the village of Creeslough.
The building houses the only supermarket in the village as well as a post office. The incident also happened at a very busy time of day as the school week was coming to an end.
Irish police have yet to confirm the cause of the explosion.
Reactions to “Darkest Days”
The incident rocked the tight-knit community of Creeslough. Letterkenny University Hospital treating the victims said in a statement on Friday that it had gone into “major emergency” mode.
He added that additional staff had been called in to deal with the incident and urged the public to refrain from visiting the hospital unless it was an emergency.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin expressed his condolences and sympathy to the victims and their families and friends “at this darkest day for Donegal and the whole country”.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin described Friday as the “darkest day”
“The people of this island will be numb to the same sense of shock and utter devastation as the people of Creeslough at this tragic loss of life,” he said in a statement late Friday.
Sinn Fein local lawmaker Pearse Doherty said people were trapped inside the building hours after the blast. Some of those trapped were able to contact emergency services outside, he added.
The search and rescue operation also included emergency responders from neighboring Northern Ireland.
rmt/dj (AFP, AP, Reuters)