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Aerosol blast girl to have surgery

One of the four young girls injured in a mystery explosion at a house in Drogheda has responded to her mother as she lies in intensive care in hospital.

Pals Jessica Woods, Sarah Louise Coddington, Zara Pugh and Chloe Coyle, who are all aged between 12 and 14, received shocking burns in the flash explosion at Zara's house at Ascail Fionnan in the Louth town on Sunday afternoon.

Jessica, from St Finian's Park, is due to have surgery today.

Her heartbroken mother Triona said she hopes her daughter is now on the road to recovery.

"I was allowed in to see her for the first time yesterday and she responded to me, but she's still in intensive care," she said from Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

Jessica has burns to her face, head, neck and back.

One of her pals was airlifted to the UK yesterday for specialist treatment.

Sarah Louise Coddington's mother Leona said her 12-year-old daughter had also suffered burns to the back of her body and her hair.


She described her horror at opening her door in the Moneymore estate on Sunday afternoon to see two gardai on the doorstep.

"I knew it was something bad. I nearly buckled. I just told them 'please let me know she is alive' and they told me she was," Leona told the Herald earlier this week. "I named my daughter Sarah (pictured) after a friend of mine, Sarah Jane McKenna, who I adored and was killed in a car crash in 1997," Leona explained.

"Her anniversary was only two weeks ago. I was afraid I was going to lose my Louise too."

Zara Pugh also suffered burns to her back, head and legs.

The injuries of the fourth pal, Chloe Coyle from St Finians estate, were less serious.

The cause the of blast, which happened in an upstairs room of the house, is still not known.

But it is suspected that an igniting aerosol can may be responsible.

Gardai in Drogheda said more would be known when the girls are well enough to tell them the sequence of events.

The investigation is not a criminal one, but is necessary by the fact that four young girls were injured and an internal wall in the house was believed to have been blown down by the blast.

Three ambulance and three fire brigades raced to the scene after the blast, and locals reported seeing neighbours rushing to the girls' aid.