Nine people were killed in an explosion at a petrol station in County Donegal, in northwest Ireland, Irish police said on Saturday. Reuters news.

The blast happened at the Applegreen petrol station on the outskirts of Chrislow village shortly after 3pm local time.

The Garda Síochána police force said on Saturday that another eight people were being treated in hospital. Rescue operations are continuing at the scene. However, they did not address the cause of the explosion.

Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin said the incident was tragic for a small community of a few hundred people.

In a statement on Friday, Martin said: ‘The people of this island will be left with the same sense of shock and utter devastation as the people of Krisolf at this tragic loss of life. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to their family, friends and the entire community of Chrislow on this dark day for Donegal and the whole country.’

Local Sinn Féin lawmaker Piers Doherty said at the scene on Friday that the ‘huge explosion’ was heard from miles away. Hours after the blast, people were still trapped inside the building and trying to contact emergency services.

He added that the petrol station was the only supermarket in the village, which also had a post office and hairdresser. Friday was very busy after the school holidays.

The Irish Coast Guard said it assisted with nearby helicopter emergency services and a specialist rescue team was sent to the scene from nearby Northern Ireland.

(October 8)