Police given court extension to preserve scene of Creeslough blast

Irish police have been given a further court extension to preserve the scene where 10 people died following an explosion in Cresslough, Co Donegal.

A gardai spokesperson said a road closure in the village would remain in place as it continued investigations into the circumstances of the blast.

Four men, three women and three young people, ranging in ages from five to 59, died in the explosion which occurred at a service station on October 7.

Police previously said the incident is being treated as a tragic accident, with a gas leak believed to be one theory.

Explosion at Donegal service station
The 10 victims of the explosion in Creeslough (An Garda Siochana/PA)

A police statement said: “An Garda Siochana would like to thank the local community in Creeslough, Co Donegal and the general public for their ongoing assistance in the investigation of this explosion.

“An Garda Siochana understands and appreciates the impact on the community and the ongoing inconvenience and disruption caused due to the continuing scene preservation which is necessary to assist the investigation.”

Police thanked the local community for their patience as they stated that the N56 road closure in the village would remain in place.

The gardai has been granted an extension by the High Court to hold the scene until November 27.

The statement continued: “The purpose for the preservation of the scene is to preserve, search for and collect evidence to facilitate the ongoing investigation.”

“This investigation is being co-ordinated from Milford Garda station where an incident room has been established under the direction of a Garda senior investigating officer.

“A memorandum of understanding has been agreed upon and signed between An Garda Siochana, the Health and Safety Authority and the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities to facilitate the sharing of information and resources between the agencies.

“The Garda National Technical Bureau (GNTB) crime scene managers remain on scene assisting the investigation.”

Police said that a company which specialises in investigating and testing energy systems – Det Norske Veritas – remains on site.

The statement said: “A careful and systematic approach is being taken to the forensic examination of the scene due to the structural instability of the building, which is being closely monitored by personnel on site.

“Structural engineers are in attendance at the site to assist in this investigation and to ensure as safe a working environment as possible.”

Police said that in excess of 500 lines of enquiry have been actioned and house-to-house enquiries are at an advanced stage and a canvass of further witnesses remains ongoing.

In excess of 260 statements have been taken and numerous items have been recovered from the scene.

A large amount of debris has been removed from the site to a secure location for further examination and a police Mobile Command Unit remains at the scene where CCTV is being reviewed.

The statement concluded: “An Garda Siochana’s thoughts continue to be with the families of the deceased of this fatal explosion and the injured and their families.

“An Garda Siochana is working diligently and as expeditiously as possible, in the circumstances, to ensure that all the circumstances of this fatal explosion are professionally investigated.”