A gas station and nearby homes were badly damaged in an explosion, and many are feared seriously injured.
Tracker dogs have been seen searching the wreck and there are growing fears that lives may have been lost.
Pictures shared on social media showed a forecourt in County Donegal ripped apart in an explosion.
A supermarket and houses built into the site were badly damaged and the roof of the building appears to have partially collapsed.
The force of the blast ripped away the outer wall, exposing houses and damaging a number of cars.
A nearby hospital said it had “several injured people” on site who were being treated and had moved to a large emergency preparedness.
According to RTE, the local hospital has urged people to only go to the emergency room if absolutely necessary as the incident is serious.
The blast happened around 3pm at an Applegreen station outside the village of Creeslough in north-west Ireland.
People have gathered at the scene, including desperate relatives of those who may have been at the station at the time of the blast.
It is feared several people were trapped under the rubble as the area would have been busy at the time, a local politician said.
Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty told RTE News: “It was racing right through this building and this was a very busy place at the time.
“At three o’clock, it’s just after school, people wanted to collect their pension. This is a very, very busy place in this store, this gas station, this deli, the post office at this time.
“It’s just silent, it’s surreal. People just hold on to hope, waiting to hear news, positive news coming from the emergency services.
An air ambulance was also reportedly drafted in to assist with the operation.
An Ambulance Service spokesman said: “A number of ambulances are present at the scene of a serious incident at a petrol station in Creeslough, Co Donegal.
‘Please avoid this area for now if possible.’
Police are asking all road users heading towards Creeslough to consider alternative routes.
Donegal Independent Councilor John O’Donnell told BBC Radio Ulster: “What we’re hearing is there’s just absolute carnage in Creeslough at the moment, there’s a massive gas explosion.
“The feedback I’m getting from family and friends who are sadly at the scene and in the area is just the whole place is chaos at the moment, everyone is very, very taken back and devastated by what is happening. ”
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/07/ireland-petrol-station-and-homes-hit-by-explosion-17525397/ Ireland: Gas station and houses hit by explosion