Shauna Flanagan Garwe, five, and her father, Robert Garwe, were in the petrol station shop buying a birthday cake for Shauna’s mother.
Leona Harper, 14, was choosing an ice-cream from the fridge. Jessica Gallagher, 23, was a designer who had recently moved back home after a stint in Paris. Catherine O’Donnell, 39, was with her 14-year-old son, James Monaghan.
They were among the 10 who died on Friday when an explosion destroyed an Applegreen service station and adjoining apartments outside the village of Creeslough, County Donegal, on Ireland’s north-western tip.
Tributes poured in on Sunday after police named and released pictures of the victims, putting faces and stories to a tragedy that has shocked Ireland. Gardaí said initial evidence pointed to an accident – there is speculation about a gas leak.
The other victims were: Australian man James O’Flaherty, 48, Martin McGill, 49, Martina Martin, 49, and Hugh Kelly, 59. Eight people are being treated for injuries; one of them, a man in his 20s, is in critical condition.
Investigators are studying CCTV footage that captured the final moments before the blast – a typical Friday afternoon at a service station with the village’s only shop, making it a community hub.
The rest of Ireland viewed photographs of the victims – invariably smiling, in their everyday lives – taken before they ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
O’Flaherty, 48, originally from Sydney, is survived by his wife Tracey and son Hamish, according to his death notice. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was working with local authorities to provide assistance.
Robert Garwe was originally from Zambia and married to a local woman.
Leona Harper had played in the under-14 team at Letterkenny rugby club. “To Leona’s parents, Hugh and Donna, her brothers, Anthony and Jamie, and all of her teammates, we offer you our deepest condolences and support,” the club said in a statement. “There are no words that feel strong enough at a moment of deep sorrow such as this.”
A mass in the parish church, St Michael’s, was packed, the congregation silent. The bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian, lit 10 candles. “You, the people of Creeslough, are living through a nightmare of shock and horror,” he said.
A Garda officer lays flowers near the scene of the explosion on Sunday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA
“It’s an experience that we are living through together. But we recognise that the trauma is different for every single individual. We hold in our hearts most especially those for whom this is most acute. We think firstly of the 10 who have lost their lives and gone to God, and then of those nearest to them who are most cruelly bereaved.”
The parish priest, Fr John Joe Duffy, said: “Our hearts are indeed broken, we all sense a numbness, a disbelief that we are really experiencing this tragedy, that it is real.”
The explosion at about 3.20pm on Friday gutted the petrol station, which included a post office and deli counter, and devastated nearby two-storey apartments, some of which collapsed, blanketing the forecourt in rubble and glass. The blast was heard several miles away.
Emergency crews from Northern Ireland helped colleagues from the Republic scour the ruins. Ambulances and helicopters transported wounded people to a hospital at Letterkenny, 15 miles (25km) away, and Dublin, 160 miles (260km) away. The search for survivors and bodies was called off on Saturday.
The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, the deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Sinn Féin, visited the scene and attended a memorial mass.
In a statement Liz Truss, the UK prime minister, expressed shock and sadness. “My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends who have lost loved ones, and to the entire community of Creeslough as they come together in their moment of grief.”
People laid flowers close to the scene. Vigils and condolence books are being organised across Ireland and its diaspora. A minute’s silence was held before a match at the Asian Gaelic Games in Malaysia. An Post, the Irish postal service, said the public could donate to a support fund at its offices. A GoFundMe appeal had raised over €170,000 by Sunday afternoon.