Friday 21 November 2014

Explosion that tore apart homes was 'like the Blitz'

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 03/06/2014 | 02:30

Remains of 3 houses that are being demolished on Sullivan Street in Stoneybatter, Dublin due to a suspected gas explosion. One man was seriously injured and adjoining houses evacuated. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Remains of 3 houses that are being demolished on Sullivan Street in Stoneybatter, Dublin due to a suspected gas explosion. One man was seriously injured and adjoining houses evacuated. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Remains of 3 houses that are being demolished on Sullivan Street in Stoneybatter, Dublin due to a suspected gas explosion. One man is seriously injured and adjoining houses evacuated. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne

NEIGHBOURS told how they feel "lucky to be alive" as workers made safe houses left unstable following a massive blast.

Residents on O'Sullivan Street, just yards away from Dublin's Phoenix Park, described the scene of devastation as like the aftermath of the wartime 'Blitz', as one man remained in hospital, fighting for his life.

The suspected gas explosion on Sunday evening ripped apart the home of Terry Maguire (58), who lived in the redbricked terraced home, just off the busy Infirmary Road.

Ten houses were evacuated, while he was rushed to hospital with serious burns, where his condition was described as critical. "People are very lucky to have survived. They're lucky to be alive today," said a resident as they surveyed the extensive damage.

The blast blew the roof off of Mr Maguire's home, while Dublin City Council workers were forced to knock down a significant part of a corner house adjoining his home because it posed a danger of collapsing onto the footpath.

The house on the other side of Mr Maguire's home was also extensively damaged.

A friend of Mr Maguire said he had been left badly burned.

"He's in a critical condition in an intensive care unit. We're very worried for him," he said.

A close friend of Mr Maguire, Andy Breslin, from Ballyfermot, Dublin, said he would have contacted him if he suspected there was anything wrong with the house.

"Myself and his good friend were absolutely shocked when we heard the news.

"Terry retired from his job as a draughtsman for CIE a few years ago," he said.

Mystified

"He is very conscientious about his home always and has kept it very well. We're mystified about what could have caused the explosion."

Mr Maguire's parents had lived in the home which was built in 1892. Mr Maguire was their only child and has lived alone in the house in recent years, said Mr Breslin.

Bord Gais confirmed 10 houses had been evacuated due to the structural damage of the primary site and neighbouring buildings.

The firm said there were no gas network issues in the immediate area.

An 85-year-old man told how he feared it was a bomb. And a young couple who live in a house on Infirmary Road said they were dismayed at the devastation when they arrived home yesterday evening.

"We got a phone call from friends telling us what happened.

"We discovered damage to our ceilings when we got home," said the young woman.

Sylvia Behan, who lives in Kinahan Street, said described hearing a "big bang" and told how people "were very lucky".

Irish Independent

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