Wednesday 25 April 2018

Boiler explosion kills man (28) at house with cannabis farm in shed

Two others hurt in blast as gardaí launch probe

Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters said 200 cannabis plants were found in the shed. Photo: Collins
Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters said 200 cannabis plants were found in the shed. Photo: Collins
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A man suffered fatal head injuries when a back boiler exploded at a house where the shed was being used as a cannabis farm.

Lithuanian national Edvinas Rudzinskas (28) was killed instantly in the blast at the bungalow he was renting in Beaulieu, near Termonfeckin, Co Louth, at around 11.20pm on Tuesday.

A 21-year-old Lithuanian woman was injured in the incident, while a 53-year-old man received serious injuries to his abdomen, legs and face in the explosion.

Both of the injured were rushed by ambulance to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for treatment.

Neighbours said the house had been rented out for around two years and the occupants "kept to themselves".

Gardaí carrying out a routine search of the property discovered an extensive and sophisticated cannabis cultivation and processing plant in a large shed at the back of the house. It included heating and lighting systems to grow the plants to their full potential, as well as processing and packing equipment.

Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters, from Drogheda Garda station, told a press conference that around 200 mature cannabis plants were discovered, with an estimated street value of €150,000.

A next-door neighbour reported hearing a loud bang when the explosion happened, but at first didn't know what it was. "I heard a loud bang and went to the front door to see what it might be, and I could hear a woman screaming," said the man.

"Then I saw smoke at the side of the house and the woman came in to me, but she had no English and was on the phone talking in her own language.

"Her hands were injured. It took a while to figure out what had happened."

The neighbour later discovered fragments of the fireplace, coal and fire bricks in his garden following the explosion.

Gda Supt Watters said two investigations were under way, one into the cause of the explosion in the living room of the house, and one into the cannabis cultivation at the back of the property. Any possible link between the occupants of the house and the cannabis growing operation will form part of the investigations.

Irish Independent

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