‘It was like a scene from a horror movie’ – The Creeslough community recounts the tragedy in the TG4 documentary

A man who was working at the local shop in Creeslough, Co Donegal at the time of the blast last October has spoken publicly for the first time.

ádraig O’Donnell, 51, was working at Lafferty’s supermarket on October 7 last year when the explosion swept through the store and gas station.

The tragedy claimed the lives of 10 people and hospitalized several others.

Mr O’Donnell, a butcher who works at the supermarket, gave TG4 the first eyewitness account of what it was like at the store in his new documentary. Iniúchadh TG4 – A Craoslach.

“It was like a scene from a horror movie. It was a Friday and it was very busy. I was just returning to the butcher counter when the next thing, bam. There was an explosion,” he said.

“It was very big and very noisy. It was amazing. It was a horrific scene.”

Despite suffering from shock himself, Mr O’Donnell managed to get a pensioner who was standing among the rubble out through the back door of the building.

The woman was one of the first people rescued.

“She was shocked and was very quiet and we didn’t speak. Outside the store, bricks and rubble lay everywhere. I had no idea what happened, it was a horrific scene,” he said.

After guiding the pensioner to safety, Mr O’Donnell went back inside to see if he could help others trapped in the rubble.

“There were others in the store and I had to go back inside to help out in whatever way I could.”

The 10 victims who tragically lost their lives were five year old Shauna Flanagan Garwe and her father Robert Garwe (50), Leona Harper (14), Hugh Kelly (59), Jessica Gallagher (24), Martin McGill (49) , James O’Flaherty (48), Martina Martin (49), Catherine O’Donnell (39) and their 13-year-old son James Monaghan.

Mr O’Donnell added: “I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m still alive, but my life is different now.

“I can’t sleep and I have nightmares. My heart breaks when I think of those who died. I can not think of anything else. I pray for their souls. It’s not an experience you want to be a part of.”

Backhoe operator Henry Gallagher, who worked at the scene of the tragedy, also speaks publicly for the first time in the documentary.

Mr Gallagher stayed in the cab of his excavator for 24 hours removing rubble from the collapsed building until the last body was removed.

“All you see is a river of safety vests (behind me) and I know underneath are families awaiting news. The only way they’re going to get word that a loved one has been taken out is for me to come in,” he said.

Raphoe truck driver Colin Kilpatrick, who was making a delivery in Creeslough, heard the blast and was among the first rescuers in the garage forecourt.

He managed to free one of the injured by lifting concrete slabs with a jack.

“People got off and people didn’t get off, but what we did worked,” he said.

The documentary will focus on the rescue efforts of ordinary people in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

The program is the first in a new monthly series of topical and investigative documentaries to be aired by TG4 this year, examining the issues behind the headlines of current big Irish news.

The series is presented by award-winning Belfast-based investigative journalist Kevin Magee, who previously worked as an investigative correspondent for BBC Northern Ireland and on its flagship current affairs programme headlight.

Mr Magee said: “At the time of the tragic events in Creeslough we were all hearing of the extraordinary bravery and bravery of the first wave of rescuers, local people who ran to help their trapped neighbors at great risk before emergency services arrived. ”

The documentary will be broadcast tonight at 9.30pm on TG4.

https://www.independent.ie/news/it-was-like-a-scene-from-a-horror-movie-creeslough-community-recount-tragedy-in-tg4-documentary-42332257.html ‘It was like a scene from a horror movie’ – The Creeslough community recounts the tragedy in the TG4 documentary

Fry Electronics Team

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