A five-year-old Zimbabwean preschooler and her father perished in a blast in Ireland that claimed ten lives.
Robert Garwe, who was 50 years old, and his daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe are originally from Wedza in Zimbabwe.
Ten people were killed by the explosion at a petrol station in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland on 7 October 2022. The Irish police force said its investigation into the cause of the blast was continuing.
The day had started beautifully and sunny for Robert and his daughter Shauna. The little girl’s mother had a birthday, and Robert decided to take his daughter to go and buy a cake in the afternoon.
Tragedy struck, and the explosion went off at the petrol station. Robert and his little daughter perished in the blast.
The explosion levelled the fuel station building, which holds the village’s main shop and post office, damaged an adjacent apartment building and shattered the windows in nearby cottages.
Local medic Dr Paul Stewart told Irish broadcaster RTE:
“There were blocks thrown a hundred yards away from the scene. The whole front of the building collapsed, and the roof of the first floor collapsed down into the shop. It’s a miracle they got anyone out.”
A community member, Kieran Gallagher, whose house is about 150 metres from the scene, said the explosion sounded like a bomb.
“I was in my house at the time and heard the explosion. Instantly I knew it was something – it was like a bomb going off.”
Another victim, Catherine O’Donnell, and her 13-year-old son, James Monaghan, had just entered the shop after school together when they tragically lost their lives.
Design student Jessica Gallagher, 24, had recently moved back to her hometown after living in Paris. She walked into the store with her boyfriend and never came back out.
Talented rugby player Leona Harper, 14, also lost her life in the blast, along with farmer Hugh Kelly, Martin McGill, James O Flaherty, and shopkeeper Martina Martin.