There were scenes of devastation at Tata steelworks in Port Talbot after a ‘spillage of liquid iron’ led to an explosion which injured two people.
People living near the South Wales steelworks, the largest in the UK, heard three ‘massive’ blasts at around 3.35am this morning, with footage capturing the bright flashes and a mushroom cloud caused by the blast.
Large plumes of smoke were seen cascading from machinery after the blast and initial fire, which police believe started inside a train carrying molten metal into the site, triggering further blazes nearby.
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There were scenes of devastation at Tata steelworks in Port Talbot after a ‘spillage of liquid iron’ led to an explosion which injured two people
People living near the South Wales steelworks, which is the largest in the UK, heard three ‘massive’ blasts at around 3.35am this morning, with footage capturing the bright flashes and mushroom cloud caused by the blast
Large plumes of smoke were seen cascading from machinery after the initial fire, which police believe started inside a train carrying molten metal into the site, triggering further blazes nearby
Tata Steel confirmed this morning the fire was caused by a ‘spillage of liquid iron as it was travelling to the plant’ and two workers suffered burns in the blast which followed.
They later added: ‘We can confirm there are no serious injuries and all employees have been accounted for. All fires are now under control.’
The site was reopened by 7am and shift workers were spotted arriving for work as usual.
The explosions were heard 15 miles away in Bridgend, according to locals.
The plant, which Tata took over from Corus Steel in 2007, employs 4,000 people.
Photos posted online apparently showed a huge mushroom cloud over the plant after a blast
A huge cloud of orange smoke is pictured above houses in Port Talbot after three explosions rocked the nearby Tata steelworks in the early hours
Residents described their shock at the scale of the explosions.
Witness Lance Davies said: ‘I was woken up this morning by what sounded like thunder, I went to the window and could see the results of the first explosion, then I called my partner and saw the other two.
‘That was all you could see, it was like a scene from Independence Day. A big ball of flame, followed by a massive mushroom of smoke. It was unbelievable.’
Dash cam footage from a passing vehicle in Port Talbot this morning shows one of the explosions and the plume of smoke shooting into the sky
The driver’s windscreen was light up with the flash of the blast (pictured)
Sharon Freeguard, a Neath Port Talbot councillor, said: ‘I thought I heard about two to three explosions. It was extremely frightening and very, very scary.
‘The house just shook, so it was quite alarming. Once it was over, I did wonder what it was and just did think about the works.
‘We’re just all relieved that there are no fatalities.’
Local Mathew Kearney said the blast was ‘the loudest thing I’ve ever heard’.
He wrote: ‘Woke me sharply, and continued to crash as I came to. Plagued now with worry about the works. Can hear helicopters above now. Surreal, this. Hope everyone is okay. ‘
Laura Morris described ‘apocalyptic scenes’. She said: ‘I hope from whatever has happened at the Steel Works Port Talbot, that everyone is ok.’
An emergency vehicle is pictured at the Tata steelworks in Port Talbot this morning after explosions in the early hours
Smoke is pictured still billowing out of the steelworks in Port Talbot as day broke this morning
One woman who lives nearby told Good Morning Britain: ‘I woke up hearing three really loud explosions. It sounded like a bomb had gone off.’
A man who lives in the area told the programme: ‘It was about 3.35 in the morning I heard three separate explosions. One louder bang and then two others.
‘The actual house shook slightly. When I went up to the local garage 10 minutes later, they rang the police because they thought someone was breaking in.’
Local MP Stephen Kinnock praised emergency services for their rapid response to the incident, but said it raises serious safety concerns.
Writing on Twitter, he said: ‘This incident raises real concerns about safety at the works. It could have been a lot worse. Grateful as always to the emergency services for their rapid and effective response. *Tata Steel Europe* must conduct a full review, to improve safety.’
Despite the scale of the blast, South Wales Police said they believe only two people suffered ‘minor’ injuries.
The Tata steelworks in Port Talbot, West Glamorgan, which employs 4,000 people (file photo)
A still from a social media video shows a bright flash as a result of one of the explosions
A statement this morning read: ‘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.
‘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.’
A spokesman added that the M4 motorway is still open.
A picture posted on social media shows smoke above the Tata steelworks plant in Port Talbot in the early hours following three blasts at 3.35am
The National Police Air Service’s St Athan wing confirmed a helicopter had been scrambled to the scene.
A spokesman said: ‘Attended large series of explosions at @TataSteelEurope #PortTalbot.’
‘Tata has now confirmed there are no serious injuries and all employees have been accounted for. All fires now under control. Excellent multi agency response from @swpolice @SWFireandRescue @SWPPortTalbot.’
Streams of 999 calls started coming in at just after 3.30am, with police asking people to avoid the area.
A blast furnace explosion at the plant in 2001 killed three people and injured a further 12.
The aftermath of the explosion is seen at Port Talbot Tata Steelworks on April 26
Two people are believed to have suffered minor injuries in a series of explosions at the TATA Steelworks in Port Talbot
The town was rocked by three blasts shortly after 3.30am, with residents reporting their houses were shaken by the huge bangs
Other residents reported seeing a fireball at the site, which employs an estimated 10 per cent of the town’s population
An aerial image shows the scale of the Tata steelworks in Port Talbot, south Wales