Two people have been injured after a huge explosion rocked the UK’s largest steelworks, lighting up the night sky and waking up people up to 15 miles away.
Residents near the Tata Steel site in Port Talbot said their houses shook with the force of the blast in the early hours of Friday.
It is thought the seat of the explosion was a train that carries molten metal into the works. Two employees were hurt by a spillage of liquid iron.
The Aberavon MP, Stephen Kinnock, said the incident raised “real concerns” about safety at the site. “It could have been a lot worse. Grateful as always to the emergency services for their rapid and effective response,” he tweeted. Kinnock called for Tata to conduct a safety review.
innock called for Tata to conduct a safety review.
Tata Steel tweeted: “We can confirm two of our employees were slightly injured when there was a spillage of liquid iron while it was travelling to the steel plant. All fires have now been extinguished. A full investigation has begun.”
It added later:“The Port Talbot site has now been reopened to works traffic and we are assessing any potential damage.”
Several bright flashes could be seen in video of the incident shared online. Emergency services including paramedics and firefighters attended the complex after 999 calls began to stream in at about 3.35am.
South Wales police said two people had sustained minor injuries in the incident and advised locals to avoid the area.
“Emergency services remain on scene but we have had confirmation that all members of staff are accounted for and there are only two casualties with minor injuries,” the force said.
“Early indications are that the seat of the explosion was a train which carries molten metal into the works. The explosion caused some small fires which are all under control and damage to some buildings on the site.
“South West fire and rescue service have informed us there is no need for concerns re hazardous effects from the smoke from the fire.” The force said the M4 motorway remained open.
Residents spoke of their shock at the blast. Lance Davies, who lives at the highest point in the town, said it was a “miracle” no one was killed. He told the BBC: “I was woken up this morning by what sounded like thunder. It was like a big orange bubble of flame in the sky, a big mushroom cloud. The whole place was lit up.”
In 2001, three men were killed and 12 injured in a blast at the plant, then owned by Corus. On Friday, locals described their dread when they heard there had been another explosion.
A Tata Steel spokesman said: “Shortly after 3.30am today there was an incident at our Port Talbot site involving a spillage of molten iron. Two of our employees suffered minor injuries and both have been released following treatment.
“The spillage led to a number of fires which were extinguished by our own emergency services supported by members of the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Police and ambulance also attended. We are currently investigating the cause of the incident and are looking to minimise any impact on production.”
The secretary of state for Wales, Alun Cairns, said: “I wish a quick recovery to those injured in this morning’s incident in Port Talbot and thank the emergency services for their rapid response.
“It is important that Tata Steel Europe addresses safety concerns that could arise as a result of this incident to ensure the well-being of staff and residents in the local and wider community.”
A spokesman for the trade union Community said its representatives were in urgent meetings at the steelworks. He added: “We are thankful that there are no serious injuries. It is important that all appropriate procedures are followed now to ensure lessons are learnt and any necessary changes are implemented.”