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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 7 December 2021
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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.

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

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 >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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