Wednesday 21 March 2018

Pensioner badly burnt in massive gas explosion

Anita Guidera

A PENSIONER is being treated for serious burns to his face and body following a gas explosion that caused extensive damage to his rural home.

Retired county council lorry driver Conal McFadden (68) was alone in his home near the coastal town of Falcarragh, Co Donegal, when the blast happened at around 10pm on Sunday.

The roof and gable wall were ripped from the dormer bungalow, windows were blown out and furniture was strewn across the garden.

Neighbours rushed to the scene and carried the injured man to safety before he was removed by ambulance to Letterkenny General Hospital.

He was later transferred to the burns unit of St James's Hospital, Dublin, with extensive burns to his face and body.

It it believed the explosion originated to the rear of the property. There was at least one gas cylinder attached to a domestic appliance in the vicinity. Yesterday a small fire continued to burn at the scene.

One neighbour described hearing "an almighty bang" and feeling her own house shake with the impact.

"I saw an orange ball of flame flying across a garden between the house and the next house on the opposite side of the road," she said.

Her son rushed to the damaged house and discovered the man standing against a wall. "He kept saying 'ta me doite', which means he was burning. It is devastating," she said.

The injured man's wife was visiting friends in Letterkenny when the explosion occurred.

Emergency services including fire tenders from nearby Falcarragh and two other stations attended the scene in the townland of Cluain Baire, and remained on location until 3am.

A garda forensic team examined the cordoned-off scene yesterday. One fire officer with 26 years' experience said he had never seen a single explosion cause so much damage.

A senior garda source confirmed that the incident was not being treated as suspicious.

Irish Independent

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