Pictured: Gardaí release details of the ten victims of explosion in Creeslough, Co Donegal
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Gardaí have named the ten victims of the explosion which devastated the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal on Friday.
Gardai name the ten people killed in Creeslough explosion tragedy in DonegalUnmute
The deceased have been named as: James O’Flaherty (48); Jessica Gallagher (24); Martin McGill (49); Catherine O Donnell (39) and her son James Monaghan (13); Hugh Kelly (59); Martina Martin (49); Robert Garwe (50) and his daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe (5); and Leona Harper (14).
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Gardaí said the investigation is being co-ordinated from an incident room at Milford garda station.
The Garda Technical Bureau, with assistance from other agencies, will continue to examine the scene, which remains cordoned off.
These examinations are likely to continue over the coming days. Traffic diversions on the N56 at the scene of the incident remain in place.
A total of 10 fatalities were confirmed arising from the fatal explosion. The remains of the deceased are at Letterkenny University Hospital where state post-mortems have commenced under the direction of Dr Heidi Okkers, assistant state pathologist.
These post-mortems will continue over the next few days.
Gardaí said the results will not be released for operational reasons.
One male in his 20s remains in a critical condition in St James Hospital, Dublin. The seven other surviving casualties continue to receive treatment in Letterkenny University Hospital and remain in stable condition.
Local pharmacist Fergus Brennan said Creeslough is a “wonderful community” and that people are now in a state of “utter shock”.
Mr Brennan said people are experiencing “very major trauma” after this “life-changing” event.
“The story of this tragedy started for us in Brennan’s at about 3.45pm with a frantic call from Martin McGill’s mum tracing his whereabouts,” he said.
“Martin was a very regular visitor because he was a carer, an exceptional young man, so well liked and loved and looked after his parents with such dedication and love,” he told RTÉ’s This Week.
Mr Brennan added: “As the community pharmacy in Creeslough for the last five years, we’re very privileged to be embedded in the community. We knew all of these people, we’re part of the community, our staff and our team are local so as this unfolded for us, of course we had worries for our own loved ones and family and friends of our staff and team.
“As we try to analyse the tragedy and try make sense of it, we need to remember those who have been lost, these 10 local people in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Shauna we all remember so well, she’s a delightful, energetic little girl and she was one of those kids when they’re in the pharmacy always ask for a lollipop. I know all these faces and it just brings home the extent of this tragedy.
“There is a quiet silence as I think people are supporting each other at home. In the weeks ahead the families of the bereaved and injured have such a difficult journey to follow.”
Meanwhile, Jeremy Worth of Letterkenny Rugby Club said Leona Harper (14) had a “competitive edge and sporting prowess”.
“Leona started playing mini rugby while still at national school, when Leona joined the girls under 14s, she had already developed a really good spin pass. It was clear she was developing into a fantastic young player,” he said.
“Leona was also simply a lovely young person, and it was a pleasure to be in her company, taken too soon, Leona will be missed sadly by her teammates, her coaches and the rugby community in Letterkenny.
“I don’t think we even understand it yet, we obviously have teammates of Leona’s at a very tender age who will be struggling very much to come to terms with this.”
Consultant in emergency medicine Dr Gerry Lane praised the “heroic” local community for their immediate response to the incident.
“It was just as bad as you would expect, when you hear the words major incident declared, multiple injured and multiple trapped,” he said.
“As I was approaching the scene, I could see the skeleton of a major incident response being built up in front of me, there were multiple ambulance resources already there, paramedics retrieving people from the environment, aided and assisted by the heroic local people.
“It was an extraordinarily hazardous situation, a number of people had been extracted and were being dealt with by the advanced paramedics on scene.”
Dr Lane said the incident included the “best of people in the worst of situations”.
“I can say that I do know some of the people and one girl was a particular guest in my house on many occasions,” he said.
“The adrenaline drive that those people were showing, the love that they were showing for their friends and family, I stood there and was amazed by that and terrified.
“The building was inherently unstable, I saw people in shorts wrenching corrugated iron off the canopy with their bare hands and throwing it away to get at people, those heroic people were placing themselves in a great deal of danger.”
Chief ambulance officer with HSE West JJ McGowan said nothing could prepare him for the scene on Friday afternoon. Mr McGowan commended the inter-agency response and the “heroism” that was shown.
“By the time that I had got to the scene, I went to the hospital first, the skeleton of the major emergency plan was put in place when I got there. All crews had put it in place so there was huge control over it at that stage, but in a way, it was a manic scene to approach,” he said.
The 10 fatalities included four men, three women, two teenagers (one male and one female) and one younger female child, a garda statement said.
Garda Family Liaison Officers have been appointed to the families and are continuing to provide support and information.