Ten people have now been confirmed to have died at an Applegreen-branded service station in the Republic of Ireland following an explosion on Friday afternoon, in a devastating tragedy reflected in major news headlines throughout the weekend.
Rescue and recovery work continued through the Friday night and Saturday at Lafferty’s Applegreen Service Station, Creeslough, Co Donegal, following the 3.20pm blast which caused a major collapse at the service station and severely damaged apartments at the rear of the site. Many injured people were taken to hospital and a major incident was declared, as heavy machinery was brought in to help rescuers in their search for survivors.
Early reports have described the explosion as a suspected gas blast, but nothing has been confirmed.
Creeslough is a small village in the north of the Republic, and the site is said to be a vital part of the small community with its convenience store and fuel station. Photos reveal the damage to the shop and forecourt, with damaged cars showing it was busy at the time.
Applegreen founder and chief executive Joe Barrett, released the following statement: “Yesterday was a very dark day for Creeslough, for Donegal, for Ireland, and for all of us in the wider Applegreen family.
”This is a hugely tragic event, and I would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased, and to the entire community in Creeslough. We are utterly shocked and saddened at what happened yesterday. I would also like to offer our thanks to the emergency services, and first responders who are dealing with the incident.
“We have been working with our local partners in Creeslough since 2014. We are providing them with assistance and support locally at this very difficult time. The Applegreen in Creeslough is at the very heart of the village and contains the local post office and supermarket.
”Our thoughts and our prayers are with the people of Creeslough. Today we mourn those who have lost their lives alongside the entire country. We will continue to assist and support our partners, and the wider Creeslough community, in the days and weeks ahead.”
The company later tweeted: ”We have been inundated with offers of support for the community in #Creeslough in recent days. To facilitate people making donations to provide support to the community in Creeslough, we are supporting the Irish Red Cross Creeslough Community Support Fund.”
On Monday morning, King Charles expressed his “deepest condolences” at the tragedgy. In a message to the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgings, he said: “…However inadquate this may be under such shattering circumstances, we wanted you to know that our most heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences are twith those families and friends who have lost their loved ones in this devastating tragedy…”