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City garda station evacuated after gas explosion

ONE of the country's busiest garda stations was evacuated yesterday following an explosion in the basement of the building.

Two men were hospitalised after a boiler exploded at Henry Street garda station in Limerick city at lunchtime, leading to 50 gardai and a prisoner being evacuated. It is understood that workmen were working in the boiler house at the time and were converting the heating system to gas.

Ambulances and firemen quickly arrived at the scene and two workers were taken to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital following the explosion.

One man was treated for burn injuries, but his wounds are not life- threatening. The other victim was treated for smoke inhalation.

The evacuated prisoner was transferred to Roxboro garda station while the building remained vacant.

Six fire tenders from Limerick city, Shannon and Rathkeale arrived at the scene while the Henry Street area was closed to traffic and pedestrians.

The building, which is home to Limerick's garda headquarters, was declared safe by fire personnel two hours later and roads were opened around 4pm. The station will not open to the public until it is cleared by the Office of Public Works.

The Health and Safety Authority have also been notified.

Irish Independent