Co Donegal church explosion causes mass evacuation

The massive bulb that exploded
The massive bulb that exploded

Parishioners had to flee a church after an explosion during the mass in Co Donegal this afternoon.

At least 25 people had to flee coughing and spluttering from 10am mass at St Columba’s Church in Termon after a large bulb exploded and caught fire.

Parish priest Fr Patrick McHugh, who was saying the mass, revealed how the building soon became filled with smoke and fumes.

“I was saying the mass when all of a sudden there was a large bang, an explosion which was louder than a shotgun.

“Then suddenly the bulb caught fire and smoke started to come from the wiring. The light fell down and there was a large crash with debris going everywhere. Everything happened very quickly - with the space of less than a minute or two.”

Fr Patrick McHugh

The quick-thinking priest then rushed to put the fire out but several people were left afforded by the fumes.

“We went and got a fire extinguisher and sprayed it on the fire which was in the centre aisle in the middle of the church.

“We put out the fire but there was a lot of smoke and what appeared to be toxic fumes.

“I told everyone to get out quickly. People wre very calm and they all filed out but a lot of them were coughing and spluttering.

“Nobody was injured and sure that’s the main thing,” revealed the priest.

Units from the local fire crew rushed to the scene but the fire was already out.

No major structural damage as caused to the building, however.

However fire-crews, wearing breathing apparatus, entered the building and the entire power has been shut off.

Electrical specialists have now been called to ensure that the fault is fixed before anyone can return to the building.

A team of industrial cleaners are also waiting to move into the building once they have ben given the go-ahead.

Fr McHugh revealed how he has now been forced to cancel both a christening and 7pm mass which was due to take place tonight.

However, he said he was confident masses would resume tomorrow.