Two dead after wall collapses in Longford DIY centre
TWO men have died and a number of people have been injured after an internal 40ft wall in a DIY and garden centre collapsed.
One man in his 40s and another in his 60s were trapped under fallen masonry at the Connacht Gold outlet in Longford.
It is understood both staff and customers were injured by falling debris.
The accident happened at about 2pm at the Connacht Gold DIY and Garden Centre off the Athlone Road in Longford. It opened in April last year.
Connacht Gold chief executive Aaron Forde, speaking from the scene of the accident, offered sympathies to the families.
"With further sad news that a second visitor to our Connacht Gold store in Longford has now passed away following an accident at the store today, the board, management and staff of Connacht Gold Co-op expresses deepest sympathy to the families," he said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
Four other people were treated in hospitals in Mullingar and Tullamore for injuries.
Two investigations are being carried out by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and gardai.
Gale force winds were being looked as a possible cause for weakening of the structure.
The building itself was being leased. It had previously been used as builders' merchants and supply centre.
Mr Forde said: "We express our sympathy and our support to the other visitors and employees who suffered injury as a result of the accident.
"We are also providing counselling to those visitors and employees in the store who were affected by this accident.
Mr Forde said the company would work with all agencies investigating the accident.
"Safety is a primary concern for Connacht Gold and we are working in every way with the emergency services, the gardai and the Health and Safety Authority in establishing the cause of the accident," he said.
"Connacht Gold opened the store in the leased premises just over nine months ago. We await the outcome of the official investigations into this tragic accident."
Gardai, fire and ambulance crews were called to the scene to free the men from under mounds of brickwork and plaster.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have inspectors on the scene in a bid to establish how the wall came down and whether the structure of the building is safe.
The Longford DIY centre, at Farranyoogan off the Athlone Road, includes a 9,000sq ft retail shop and a 4,000sq ft garden centre, together with a 7,000sq ft agri store and a yard area.