Shocking images show Severn Trent gas tank after explosion
Daylight aerial images show aftermath of exploded gas tank at Oxford green energy plant which blew up after it was struck by lightning in blast which sent huge fireball into the sky
- Videos show night sky illuminated as the fire raged to the north west of Oxford
Shocking images show the aftermath of a huge explosion triggered by lightning which hit a Severn Trent gas tank, sending a fireball into the air and causing the ground to shake.
As storms battered southern England on Monday night, a lightning strike struck a Severn Trent Green Power plant in Yarnton, Oxfordshire, causing the tank to combust in an explosion which could be heard miles away.
Severn Trent said the explosion took place at around 7.20pm as it confirmed that no-one was injured in the blast – but told users to stay away from the site on Tuesday.
Six fire engines, 40 firefighters, police and four ambulances were initially deployed to the scene at the plant, which turns food waste into biogas.
Police urged residents to stay indoors and the A40 was closed as a fireball lit up the night sky, with the flames lighting up the night sky.
Residents have shared videos of the fire raging after what a number of people have described as an ‘explosion’
Emergency services rushed to the scene amid storms seen across the UK on Monday
The plant is one of several sites owned by Severn Trent which converts waste into biogas, a green source of energy. There are currently around 109 active biogas sites operating in the UK, according to the National Grid.
Biogas conversion involves allowing waste to ferment in air-tight containers, where anaerobic respiration takes place and causes the creation of gases. These are then funnelled into a gas storage tank before being used as energy for heating and electricity.
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The lightning strike is believed to have hit one of the gas storage containers at the plant, creating a huge explosion which triggered the apocalyptic scenes over Oxfordshire on Monday.
The plant, named Cassington AD, processes over 50,000 tonnes of waste each year and generates 2.1 megawatts of electricity, as well as bio-fertiliser, its website states.
Videos show how the night sky was turned an eerie orange after what locals described as a ‘loud explosion’.
A Severn Trent Green Power spokesperson said: ‘We’d like to thank the emergency services for their work overnight to contain and lead the incident at Cassington, where our plant was struck by lightning.
‘Keeping our teams and the local community safe has been of paramount importance and we are relieved that no one has been hurt. We will continue to work with the emergency services who are still on site as we assess the damage and while the fire is under control, we urge people not to come to the site today.’
South Central Ambulance Service confirmed it was at the scene, but said they were on standby to assist police and the fire service.
‘There are no reports of any casualties at this time,’ a spokesperson for the ambulance service said.
Fire crews used an aerial appliance and water tank as they fought the flames.
Villagers in the surrounding areas filmed the column of flames rising above the site from a safe distance, with one saying he decided to record the dramatic scenes after he felt ‘the ground shake’. Locals heard the blast up to 20 miles away.
Local MP Layla Moran, of the Liberal Democrats, told constituents last night: ‘This must be extremely distressing for residents in the surrounding area. I pray no one has been injured. Thanks to our emergency workers for all they’re doing.’
Corinna Bird was in a Sainsbury’s car park when she heard ‘what we thought were fireworks, then this huge apocalyptic glow lit up the sky, we could see the flames.’
Speaking to The Times, she added: ‘I just wanted to get home quickly and out of the storm, funny thing was it didn’t feel like a storm, it wasn’t even raining very much.’
A spokesperson for the food waste processing company said in a statement yesterday evening: ‘Severn Trent Green Power can confirm that at around 19.20 this evening, a digester tank at its Cassington AD facility near Yarnton, Oxfordshire, was struck by lightning resulting in the biogas within that tank igniting.
They later added: ‘Thankfully no one has been hurt and we are working with the emergency services to make sure the site is safe so that we can assess the damage as soon as possible.’
Energy supplier SSE, who operate in the area, told MailOnline there were 533 reported outages in the area, but stressed it was due to poor weather and not the explosion. Residents reported outages in Witney, Burford, Chipping Norton and Milton-under-Wychwood.
A yellow weather warning for thunderstorms and heavy rain was in place for Oxfordshire until 2am on Tuesday.
Thames Valley Police said that its officers attended the scene of a fire at a waste plant near Yarnton, Oxfordshire.
‘It is believed that lightning struck gas containers at the site during bad weather this evening, causing a large fire,’ they said in a statement.
‘No one is believed to have been hurt, but emergency services remain at the scene. As a result of this, A40 has been closed between Wolvercote and Eynsham.
In daylight the extraordinary scale of the damage caused by the explosion is seen for the first time
Videos show the night sky being turned an eerie orange as the fire raged north west of Oxford
A column of fire lit up the night sky and flames could be seen roaring from miles around
Police urged residents to stay indoors and the A40 was closed as a fireball lit up the night sky (Pictured: Aerial view of the plant)
‘To ensure public safety, residents are asked to stay home, shut windows and doors and not to attend the scene.’
One resident shared a clip of the fire raging in the distance as he speculated what might have caused it.
‘Saw this strange pulsing sky out of our windows looking north west of Oxford,’ Kit Yates wrote on X.
‘I’m guessing it’s a fire caused by the lightning storm that passed over.’
Mahmet Ciftci also posted on X: ‘Just saw something here in Kidlington that looked like an explosion in the distance.
‘We heard a rumble like thunder and saw flames in the distance. The horizon went orange for a while.’
Joshua Bull wrote on X: ‘Definitely some kind of explosion – sounds like it’s out near Yarnton? Must have been huge, I’m in Marston and thought it was a car crashing outside my flat.’
A BP service station in Woodstock with the orange glow caused by the fire illuminating the sky
It came after locals claimed an ‘absolutely massive’ clap of thunder erupted in west London yesterday evening as storms battered Britain.
The loud rumble sounded ‘movie sound affects’, one Chiswick resident said, jokingly adding that they ‘expected an alien ship to arrive’. Another claimed the thunderclap ‘scared the life out of us’ and ‘sounded like it hit something’.
The impact of the extreme weather came as the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning as storms are set to batter swathes of the country, including London.
Downpours are expected for the rest of the week, with yellow storm warnings over parts of the UK in place until Friday.
The warning read: ‘Thunderstorms with frequent lightning have already affected parts of the warning area, these continuing into the evening in places. An increasing risk of longer-lasting intense downpours too, especially later this evening and further east across the warning area, for example towards south Lincolnshire and East Anglia.
‘These storms are likely to be focused in relatively narrow bands, so some places will miss the worst, while a few locations might catch 25-50 mm of rain within 2 or 3 hours, along with frequent lightning and gusty winds.’
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