Four people died in an explosion at a wastewater treatment plant near Bristol.
Workers were on top of a chemical tank at a Wessex Water Treatment Center when the explosion occurred.
Chief Inspector Mark Runacres, of the Avon and Somerset Police Department, told a site press conference that three Wessex Water employees and a contractor were killed in the incident.
“Emergency services were called at approximately 11:20 am with reports of a major explosion involving one of the chemical tanks at the Kings Weston Lane site,” he said.
“The fire brigade led the rescue operation, but despite the best efforts of all involved, we can unfortunately confirm that four people were killed. This includes three Wessex Water employees and one contractor.
Specially trained agents contacted each of the families of those individuals this afternoon and informed them of the sad news.
“This is a tragic incident and our thoughts and condolences go out to them.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “our hearts go out” to the victims of the explosion and their families.
“Deeply saddened to learn that four people lost their lives in the explosion of waterworks in Avonmouth,” he said on Twitter.
“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.
“Thank you to the emergency services who were on the spot.”
Avon Fire and Rescue Service previously said there were multiple casualties.
The agency said it had been called up for a “major explosion” at an Avonmouth warehouse on Kings Weston Lane at 11:22 am.
Crews from Avonmouth, Southmead, Yate, Patchway, Kingswood and Temple were broadcast.
“We can confirm that there are several victims on the spot,” the service said at the time.
Bristol Live reports that a nearby employee said the entire warehouse was shaking at the time of the explosion.
“I heard a bang… we didn’t know what was going on,” said Kieran Jenkins.
He told BBC News that he and a colleague had heard an explosion and seen people running away from the scene.
“We were in the warehouse, the whole warehouse was shaking and we were literally shocked,” he said.
The next thing you know, we looked out the windows and saw nothing but people running.
‘We don’t know what happened. It was a bit of a shock, actually. “