Four teenage girls aged between twelve and fourteen have been hospitalised after an “enormous” explosion left them with serious burn injuries.

Several emergency crews were called to take the injured teenagers to hospital

Several emergency crews were called to take the injured teenagers to hospital

Zara Pugh, Sarah Louise Coddington, Chloe Coyle, and Jessica Woods were in a bedroom in Zara’s mother’s house when an aerosol exploded, possibly after one of the girls attempted to light a cigarette, although this has not been confirmed.

Neighbours witnessed the screaming girls fleeing the house, calling for their mothers and pouring water on their burns outside the house in Drogheda, County Louth.

One local, neighbour Mary Kelly told reporters: “It happened at four o’clock, I was sitting down to watch the match when we heard this enormous bang and the place shook. We went outside and three girls were out in the garden screaming. They had serious burns and the skin was falling off their arms. One of the girls had serious burns to her face.

“I think they had aerosols in the room and one of them may have tried to light a cigarette and there was an explosion. They were pouring water on them to try to cool the burns. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. There were four ambulances there, the girls were screaming to get their mothers. It must have been dreadful for the parents to hear what happened.”

Another witness reported: “The skin was falling off their arms.”   All four girls, who are pupils at St Oliver’s Community College, were taken to the local hospital; the nature of their injuries meant that last night, two were later transferred to Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin and two to Tallaght Hospital.