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Claims ambulance took almost an hour to respond to gas explosion

Five people were injured in the explosion on Monday evening

Concerns have been raised after claims it took the ambulance service almost an hour to respond a gas explosion in Newry on Monday evening.

Five people, including four children, were injured and eventually taken to hospital following the suspected gas explosion at a home in the Barcroft area of the city.

Newry councillor Liz Kimmins said concerns have been raised in relation to the time taken for an ambulance to attend the scene of last night’s gas explosion.

“There are reports that the ambulance did not appear until nearly an hour after the fire service had arrived at the scene at Barcroft,” she said.

“By that time those injured had been taken to hospital. This has caused great concern as delays can have serious consequences.”

Echoing his colleagues concerns MP Mickey Brady stated: “I have contacted the Ambulance Service (NIAS) for their response to this worrying  claim.

“Communities should not have to experience long and dangerous delays waiting for ambulances.”

Three boys aged 12, 10 and six, as well as an eight-year-old girl were injured in the explosion. Two of the children remained in hospital overnight.

A 34-year-old woman was taken to the Ulster hospital for a severe burn to the hand.

All four children suffered burns to the face, however, they are expected to make full recoveries, with none of the injuries life threatening.

Two appliances and 11 firefighters attended the scene.

Group Commander for the NIFRS, Max Joyce, said: “At 6.25pm we were called out to a report of a kitchen on fire at Barcroft Park.

“We arrived about five minutes after the initial call but there were no initial signs of a fire.

“We believe it was a gas explosion and this was an ordinary domestic cooker which is obviously faulty in some shape or form, leading to an explosion which caused minor damage to the kitchen itself.”

Mr Joyce confirmed there were five injured people who were all treated and taken to hospital.

“They had burns to their faces and their hands,” he said. “This could have been so much worse, they were very lucky on this occasion.”

Armagh I have contacted the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service for a response.

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