Four people have died following an explosion at a water recycling centre in Avonmouth this morning.
A major incident has been declared following the explosion, which is believed to have occurred in one of the chemical tanks at Wessex Water’s Bristol water recycling centre.
Three employees of Wessex Water and one contractor have lost their lives in the incident. Specially trained officers have made contact with each of the families.
Chief Inspector Mark Runacres of Avon and Somerset Police said: “This is a tragic incident and our thoughts and sympathies go out to them. Those officers will continue to provide them with all the support they need at this difficult time.
“A fifth person was also injured but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
“A thorough investigation will be carried out into what happened today, involving a number of agencies and the health and safety executive in due course and we will not be speculating on the cause of the investigation while such work is being undertaken.
“What we can confirm though is this is not being treated as terror-related incident. The explosion happened in a silo that holds treated biosolids before it is recycled to land as an organic soil conditioner. I can reassure people living in the nearby area that there is not believed to be any ongoing public safety concerns following today’s events.
“We do however urge members of the public to avoid the area if possible while this emergency operation is ongoing.
“I would finally like to pay tribute to all the emergency services who have assisted with today’s operation in incredibly difficult and challenging circumstances.”
Wessex Water Chief Executive Colin Skellett said: “We are absolutely devastated that the tragic incident at our site earlier today has resulted in four fatalities.
“Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of those involved.
“We are working with the Health and Safety Executive to understand what happened and why.”