One killed in Dublin homeless hostel explosion, investigation underway


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Gardaí are investigating the cause behind a Thursday explosion in Dublin city centre’s Depaul homeless hostel, which killed a person.

The explosion occurred at about 3.15 p.m., with the blast radius only spanning a single room in the hostel. Upon arriving at the site, emergency services declared the victim, believed to be of Eastern European descent, dead at the scene. Authorities believe the victim was a service user of the hostel.

Witnesses said they heard a loud bang before seeing smoke when the incident occurred. Following the explosion, the building management evacuated the residents as they told the residents that a part of the building had collapsed. One resident said everyone was panicked and had no idea where to stay the night after the explosion.

Firefighters and paramedics from North Strand, Phibsborough, and Tara Street stations were among the first to arrive after the explosion. According to them, they brought the situation under control by 3.35 p.m. before handing over the scene to the Gardaí at 4.15 p.m.

Authorities reported no injuries among the evacuated residents. Meanwhile, Depaul management said they were trying to accommodate the homeless hostel residents to other locations with cooperation from other organisations.

Garda set up a cordon around the building following the incident, while other authorities closed off several roads around Little Britain Street.

“Our heart goes out to the service user who lost their life, as well as their family and service users who were in the building at the time. This was an isolated incident, confined to one room, and no other service users were physically harmed in this incident,” said Depaul management.

Probing for the explosion’s cause

Gardaí initially did not treat the explosion with suspicion during the first hours after the incident. However, further investigation eventually prompted the Gardaí to request assistance from the Defense Forces’ Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.

A Defense Forces spokesperson said technicians from the disposal unit arrived at 7 p.m. and were still investigating the scene as of 9.30 p.m.

Authorities said initial assessments of the incident indicated the explosion came from a single or several items beneath the victim’s bed. At the moment, the Gardaí do not believe the incident was a result of illegal drug manufacturing in the room.

Furthermore, senior authorities said they would not rule out the incident as a criminal case until they clear the area of other explosive materials and proceed with a complete technical examination of the explosion site.

Gardaí have appealed for everyone with sufficient knowledge that may help the investigation to contact authorities via hotlines.

About Depaul

Depaul established the hostel in 2016 as a response to the increasing number of Dublin’s homeless population. Two years later, the hostel became a fully Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA) service.

According to Depaul’s website, the establishment offers 82 beds for single men, women and couples. To ensure everyone can address their homelessness, the hostel provides dedicated key workers, a support plan, and doctor and clinic services.

Depaul partners with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and Dublin City Council in running the hostel. Meanwhile, Safetynet Primary Care and Anna Liffey Drug Project provide medical services in the establishment.

Established in 2002 in Ireland and 2005 in Northern Ireland, Depaul is committed to alleviating the suffering of homeless and marginalised people. To achieve said goal, Depaul provides housing, rehabilitation, and other services to help these people escape their impoverished situation.

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