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Four die in oil refinery blast in UK

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An oil refinery blast that killed four maintenance contractors appears to have been a “tragic industrial accident”, police have said.

The explosion at Chevron Refinery, Pembroke Dock, south Wales, shook the surrounding area around 6.20pm on Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Gwyn Thomas, of Dyfed Powys Police, said his officers were informing relatives of the workers who died.

He said: “Paramedics have confirmed that four people lost their lives as a result of the incident.

“Officers are now in the processes of informing the next of kin and will support the families throughout this difficult time.

“Our thoughts are now with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased.”

The fire was caused by an explosion in a 730 cubic metre storage tank, which then caused damage to an adjacent tank.

Ch Supt Thomas added: “A police investigation is now under way, with the Health and Safety Executive , and early indications show that this was a tragic industrial incident.”

Chevron confirmed the four people who died were contractors and said another worker was receiving treatment in hospital for serious injuries.

Greg Hanggi, refinery general manager, said: “This news is utterly devastating. The loss of our co-workers has come as a huge shock to us all.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to their families. We will ensure that all employees and contractors are fully supported throughout this difficult time.”

He added: “We will take every step possible to determine the series of events that led to this tragic incident and ensure that any lessons learnt from it will be integrated into the business and shared with our industry partners.

“I would like to thank all the on-site responders and emergency service personnel for the dedication and professionalism they showed throughout this incident.”

A huge plume of black smoke rose into the sky after the early evening accident.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Davies said any debris thrown into the air did not pose a health risk to members of the public.

“We can confirm that any materials released into the atmosphere as a result of the blast were immediately dispersed.

“The wind was blowing off shore, away from residential areas. Members of the public can be reassured that there is no ongoing risk to health as a result of the incident.”

The sale of the refinery, which is one of the largest in western Europe and employs 1,400 people, was secured earlier this year.

US-based Valero agreed to buy the refinery site for $730m (£458m) and another $1bn (£611m) for assets, including Chevron’s petrol stations in the UK and Ireland.
Source: Sky News

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