We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Five units of Athlone Fire Brigade attended the scene of yesterday's explosion. Brendan Coyle via Twitter

Forensic team in Athlone as fire still burns

A Garda forensic team are due at the scene of yesterday’s suspected gas explosion, where fires continue to smoulder.

A GARDA FORENSIC TEAM was due to arrive in Athlone this afternoon to examine the scene of yesterday’s gas explosion, as flames continue to smoulder in the two buildings destroyed by the blast.

The explosion – at O’Neill’s pub on Castlemaine Street in the town – caused a fire which gutted the building as well as the neighbouring premises of Finlay’s auctioneers.

Flames continue to smoulder at the site, Midlands 103 reports, with fire services facing difficulties in fighting the blaze due to the sub-zero temperatures in the Co Westmeath down overnight.

The street and surrounding areas remain inaccessible to traffic, and and traffic diversions remain in place.

Gardaí say the streets around the St Mary’s Square area of the town will need to have grit applied before they can reopen to traffic.

A Garda spokesman confirmed that officers remained at the scene, where witnesses report there to still be a powerful smell of smoke, 25 hours after the explosion.

View our gallery of yesterday’s explosion >