Gas explosion damaged houses and shops

AN inquiry was demanded after a massive explosion at the Lurgan gasworks plant in Lurgan in 1977.

The explosion, heard over a wide area of the town and beyond, happened at 7.30am on a weekend and damaged over a dozen houses and some shops in the North Street and Ulster Street district.

Windows were shattered, ceilings cracked and door frames twisted by the impact of the blast - the ninth during the year and the most powerful.

The gas manager admitted: “We don’t know what caused the bang. There was an unusual build up of gas but why it exploded we just don’t know.”

One resident of North Street said: “This is the second time we have had our windows blown in.

“We are very worried and half the street are on nerve tablets. We are all living in fear of a really big explosion some night.

“If one of those gas tanks burst in an explosion, we’d be roasted alive. My wife and I are living on tenterhooks all the time now. Saturday’s blast practically blew us out of bed.”