LONDON - Very strong explosions, apparently accidental, then a gigantic fire took place in a fuel depot located 40 km north of London. Police reported 43 injured, including one seriously.
The toll is "miraculous", underlined Commissioner Frank Whiteley, Chief Constable of Hertfordshire. All ten people present at the Buncefield depot, near Hemel Hempstead, during the incident survived. One of them, which was only 200 m from the explosion, was placed on respiratory assistance but its condition is not considered critical.
The police officer repeated that at this stage, “everything converges towards the thesis of the accident”. He notably refuted the thesis of certain witnesses, according to which a plane would have been at the origin of the explosions, the first of which took place around 06:00 am local time.
These explosions were heard throughout the London region, and as far as Surrey, about fifty km from the site of the incident. They caused a fire, the flames of which were visible for more than 10 km around, according to witnesses.
County Fire Chief Roy Whilsher said the fire was contained. It was, however, likely to continue for several days before being extinguished.
The depot, operated jointly by Total and Texaco, is located in a complex that also operate BP, Shell and British Pipeline Agency. It usually stores 150 000 tons of fuel oil or petroleum derivatives.
It distributes fuel by pipeline to Luton airports - where flights continued normally on Sunday - and Heathrow, where some cancellations were recorded during the day.
At the same time, a section of the M1 motorway also had to be closed in both directions due to smoke. This gradually spread to the south, east and west, reaching the entire London region, where an unusual twilight clouded the sky on Sunday afternoon (ats / December 11, 2005 18:56)
Exclusive photos for econologie.com taken 17 km from the site of the disaster by Arnaud, econology moderator whom we thank in passing.