Belfast Telegraph

Officer has narrow escape after building collapses at bomb blast scene

A forensic officer gathering evidence at the scene of the Londonderry bomb blast had a lucky escape when a damaged building collapsed just a few feet away from him.

Several buildings across the road from Strand Road police station sustained serious structural damage in the explosion on Tuesday.

Yesterday, the front of one of the buildings fell onto the roadway close to where dozens of investigating forensic officers were searching the scene for clues.

Oglaigh na hEireann last night claimed it was behind the car bomb attack.

In a statement the dissident republican group also claimed it had attempted to bomb the barracks on the previous day, but the attack had not gone ahead after two taxi drivers “refused to co-operate with instructions”.

The road outside the PSNI station, which is one of the main city centre arterial routes, remains closed to traffic.

It is expected to stay shut until at least this evening.

The continued closure resulted in heated exchanges yesterday between business proprietors and senior police officers, who said the road needed to remain shut until forensic examinations had finished.

Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin, the PSNI divisional commander in Derry, defended the decision.

“This was a huge bomb, some 200lbs in size. When a bomb of that magnitude goes off debris and shrapnel — as well as the bits of the taxi car which contained the device — are blasted quite a distance in every direction,” he said.

“As part of our investigations into this attack, that debris and shrapnel and bits of the car are vital in terms of identifying those responsible. It is a forensic examination which must take its course.”

Among the businesses closed were several restaurants and bars, a pharmacy, a GP medical practice, a drop-in centre for single parents and the offices of Disability Action.

A number of accountancy and architectural offices were also forced to close.

Belfast Telegraph

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