BRAVE Brian Dolan arrived at the scene of the disaster just seconds after an explosion ripped through the Applegreen Service Station building.
He said the first person he met was a young girl covered in cuts and bruises.
The young girl was in the store near the ice cream machine.
He said: “She wasn’t as bad as others but she was very disoriented and she was around seven or eight years old.
“All she wanted to do was go back and get her ice cream. She must have been at the ice cream shop. I just picked her up and brought her out.
“It was just a horrible scene, but the people were great. We formed a line and people just lifted debris out of the area,” he said.
Brian added: “They go into automatic drive. The people of the church were brilliant. Dozens of people helped. We made our way from the forecourt to the store and went inside. We knew it was serious. We had to clear a road for the emergency services. We just did what we could.
“The first was the building. You don’t really think and just dig into it. Radiators, panels, whatever, were thrown just to try and get a way in. It didn’t feel like it lasted very long.
“We knew who was there. We knew the cars and we knew who worked there. I don’t think anyone thought about what he was doing. There was no plan and no real thoughts.
“They were just regular members of the community going about a normal routine on a Friday, and it was just a normal day before a boom came over our little community.”
Brian said they attempted to use jack stands to lift massive chunks of concrete from the area to locate victims.
“They just weren’t strong enough. I think someone said they only lift two tons of material, so you can imagine how heavy the debris was,” he said.
Brian revealed how his wife, Margaret Ann, left the post office attached to the gas station just minutes before the blast.
A postal receipt shows a time of 3:08 p.m., with the explosion taking place around 3:15 p.m.
Mr Dolan added: “We don’t get much sleep when we think about it and all the ‘ifs and buts’ and what could have been.
“I’m sure there are many stories like this out there, but you must count your blessings.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/world-news/6402857/donegal-creeslough-petrol-station-explosion-hero-girl/ I lifted a girl out of the gas station seconds after the explosion, she just wanted to go back for ice cream, hero rescuer says