Body found at scene of Killarney explosion

Laundrette owner James Glesson (59) was not seen after blast at 6.20am yesterday

Members of the emergency services attend the scene of an explosion in the centre of Killarney, Co Kerry. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan.

Members of the emergency services attend the scene of an explosion in the centre of Killarney, Co Kerry. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan.

Sun, Jul 14, 2013, 11:28

The body of a man has been found among the wreckage of a building that collapsed after an explosion in Killarney town centre yesterday.

The body is believed to be that of James Gleeson (59), the owner of the laundrette on Brewery Lane where the blast occurred. It is suspected the explosion, which caused damage to a number of properties on surrounding streets, was caused by a gas leak.

The search effort resumed this morning, at which point Mr Gleeson and another woman living in the locality were unaccounted for. Gardaí today said they had located all other persons living in flats on Brewery Lane.

Mr Gleeson, a married father of one, was a member of a well known local family.

Officials from the Health and Safety Authority visited the site yesterday.

The explosion is thought to have occurred after the gas fired laundry driers were switched on. Gas engineers visited the scene yesterday.

The hands on the landmark clock at the Ross Hotel at Kenmare Place remained at exactly 6.20am - the time of the explosion and the moment when the electricity was cut off.

Part of the roof of a two storey supermarket damaged by the blast ended up on the roof of a nearby five storey hotel – such was the force of the blast.

Paddy Courtney the mayor of Killarney has paid tribute to the fire service, locals, tourists, the gardaí and civil defence and he praised local hotels who took in bewildered guests who had been forced to evacuate.