Exploding bulb forces mass-goers to flee church

An inspection of the lighting system at a Co Donegal church is to be undertaken after an explosion forced the evacuation of parishioners during mass.

The incident happened during 10am mass at St Columba’s Church in Termon on Saturday.

At least 25 people had to flee coughing and spluttering after a large bulb exploded and caught fire sending toxic fumes into the air.

The entire church was covered in a white dust but nobody was injured. And although mass had to be postponed on Saturday evening, a community response saw the church cleaned up and ready for mass yesterday.

Parish priest Fr Patrick McHugh, who was saying the mass, recalled when the explosion happened.

“I was saying the mass when all of a sudden there was a large bang, an explosion which was louder than a shotgun.

“Then suddenly the bulb caught fire and smoke started to come from the wiring. The light fell down and there was a large crash with debris going everywhere. Everything happened very quickly — within the space of less than a minute or two.

“We got a fire extinguisher and sprayed it on the fire which was in the centre aisle in the middle of the church.

“We put out the fire but there was a lot of smoke and what appeared to be toxic fumes.

“I told everyone to get out quickly. People were very calm and they all filed out but a lot of them were coughing and spluttering.

“Nobody was injured and sure that’s the main thing,” revealed the priest.


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