Four people have been killed and a fifth injured in a major explosion at a wastewater treatment plant in Avonmouth, Bristol.
Police confirmed that workers were sitting on a chemical tank at a Wessex Water Treatment Center when the explosion went off at around 11:20 am on December 3.
The explosion is thought to have involved a chemical tank and emergency services are leading a rescue mission.
The explosion was declared a major incident and police are continuing to investigate what happened.
More than six firefighters were called to the site just before 11:30 am, along with the Avon and Somerset Police Department and the South Western Ambulance Service.
Witnesses reported on social media that they had at least 10 ambulances on their way to the scene, presumably on Kings Weston Lane.
The Avon and Somerset police said there are not expected to be ongoing public safety concerns following the incident, but urge people to avoid the area if possible.
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 to report 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 unfortunately, despite the best efforts of all involved, we can confirm that there were four deaths, including three Wessex Water employees and a contractor.
Specially trained officers contacted each of those individuals’ families this afternoon and informed them of the sad news.
“This is a tragic incident and our thoughts and condolences go out to them.”
Darren Jones, Member of Parliament for Bristol North West, tweeted: “My family and I keep those affected in our thoughts and prayers after the tragic consequences of the Avonmouth explosion today.
“May I thank the emergency services – including the Avon and Somerset Police Department, the South West Ambulance Service and Avon Fire & Rescue – for their responsiveness and support.”
“I am happy that the situation is under control and that there is no longer any risk for the local population.
“There will be a full investigation, but for now, we pay tribute to those who suffered and lost their lives today.”
Live updates on the explosion can be found here.