Sunday 17 December 2017

Man's body recovered from rubble after Killarney explosion

James Gleeson's body was found in the rubble
James Gleeson's body was found in the rubble
DEVASTATION: The scene at Brewery Lane, Killarney, Co Kerry, following an explosion.
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

THE body of a man missing since an explosion in Killarney town centre on Saturday morning has been recovered.

The remains of James Gleeson (59) were found in the rubble near his laundrette premises on Brewery lane in the town.

They have been taken to Kerry General Hospital.

Emergency workers resumed their search of the debris at 7.30am this morning after it had been suspended on Saturday night.

The area around Kenmare Place and College Street remains sealed off.

Mr Gleeson went to the laundrette early on Saturday morning to start up the machines. He had been due to travel to Kilkenny later that day to join his wife, Grace.

However, when he could not be located, Mrs Gleeson returned to Killarney.

The tourist town has been shocked by the death and the explosion that caused damage to the nearby Ross and International Hotel that had to evacuate all of its 170 guests at 6.30am on Saturday.

The blast happened at around 6.20am, causing much of the building to collapse and shattering windows in neighbouring properties.

Inspectors with the Health and Safety Authority attended the scene of the explosion at noon, as emergency services prepared to search the rubble. 

The International Hotel which backs onto the building where the explosion happened was among the homes and businesses that were evacuated.

In a statement, general manager Terence Mulcahy confirmed all staff and guests were safe and accounted for and were moved to alternative accommodation.

"I was on site within minutes of the explosion and personally oversaw the swift evacuation of the 170 guests," Mr Mulcahy said.

"I would like to thank our staff who were on duty at the time for their quick response and for ensuring that all emergency procedures were followed, which ensured that everyone was accounted for extremely quickly and that the hotel was evacuated with efficiency and speed."

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