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Aerosol blast girl
off ventilator but
remains in coma


Jessica Woods

Jessica Woods

Jessica Woods

One of the four young girls injured in a mystery explosion at a house in Drogheda has been taken off a ventilator but still remains in a coma in hospital, her family has said.

Pals Jessica Woods, Sarah Louise Coddington, Zara Pugh and Chloe Coyle - all aged between 12 and 14 - received shocking burns in the flash explosion at Zara's house at Ascail Fionnan in the Louth town last Sunday week, August 3.

All four remain in hospital almost two weeks later.

Jessica was the most seriously injured and received deep burns that required surgery last week.

Her mother, Triona, told the Herald that Jessica was 
taken off the ventilator on Wednesday and is now breathing on her own.

"But she is still in an induced coma. I just hope she recovers," she added.

Jessica is being treated at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

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

One of her pals was airlifted to the UK for specialist 
treatment last week but is now believed to be back in a Dublin hospital.

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 the day of the explosion 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.

"I'm traumatised by what has happened. I named my daughter Sarah after a friend of mine, Sarah Jane McKenna, who was killed in a car crash in 1997," Leona explained.

"I was afraid I was going to lose my Louise, too," she added.

Triona Woods said she heard that her daughter's pals are making progress.

"They are all out of intensive care but still in hospital," she said.

Nearly two weeks after the blast the girls are ,being treated for burn injuries, which can be slow to heal and require a lot of medical attention.

Gardai are still investigating the cause of the explosion, which is thought to have occurred when vapour from an aerosol can came in contact with a naked flame or other ignition source.


They have stressed the investigation is not a criminal one, but is necessary because four young girls were injured and an internal wall in the house was blown down by the blast.

Three ambulance and three fire brigades raced to the scene and locals reported seeing neighbours rushing to the girls' aid, quenching the flames on their bodies with water and administering first aid.

The group had been friends with tragic Gareth McGuirk, the 13-year-old boy who drowned in a Drogheda reservoir on July 24.

Louth's Chief Fire Officer Eamon Woulfe said there are "serious risks" if aerosol sprays come in contact with flames.