Bord Gáis has begun an investigation into Sunday's incident in Rathfarnham which left Declan Carrigan of Glendoher Close, Rathfarnham, and his six-year-old daughter, Sorcha, in critical condition in two Dublin hospitals.
They are in intensive care units where they are being treated for serious burns and injuries to the head and limbs.
Spokespersons at St James Hospital and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, yesterday said both father and daughter remained in a critical but stable condition.
Another daughter, Laura, eight, and son Adam, three, who are being treated at Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, and whose injuries are understood to be less serious, were described as being “comfortable”.
The children’s mother, Sandra, was uninjured in the explosion which ripped through their semi-detached house on Sunday morning, blowing off the roof and smashing glass over a wide area.
Bord Gáis is satisfied that the gas leakage which caused the accident came from a ruptured gas pipe under the footpath directly outside the Carrigan’s home. However, the company admits that it is still uncertain as to how the cast-iron pipe became fractured in the first place.
A Bord Gáis spokesperson said the probable cause was localised land subsidence which is not unknown in the Glandoher estate.
He pointed out that several houses in Glendoher Close needed to have their foundations strengthened in recent years due to subsidence.
However, the spokesperson did not discount the possibility that the burst pipe had been caused by other utilities working in the area in recent weeks.
He said Bord Gáis engineers and officials from the Health and Safety Authority would conduct a detailed survey of the gas pipeline network in the area to determine the exact cause of the fractured pipe.
Mr Carrigan may have unknowingly triggered the explosion by lighting a cigarette in his kitchen, completely unaware that there was a danger of leaking gas. Neighbours who rushed to the scene of the explosion claimed Mr Carrigan had remarked that the accident happened immediately after he lit up a cigarette.
An inspector from Bord Gáis, who had just arrived outside the Carrigan’s house after receiving a report from a resident in Glendoher Close about a smell of gas in the area, narrowly missed being hit with flying glass.
Bord Gáis also announced they had arranged alternative accommodation for the Carrigan family, while extensive repair work is carried out on their home. Temporary housing has also been provided for one neighbouring family, whose roof was damaged by a fire which broke out after the blast.