June 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm #2232
Death-blast refinery ‘a time-bomb’
Spalding Guardian Published on Friday 3 June 2011 11:29
formatPubDate(“Fri Jun 03 17:29:26 BST 2011”);
A former worker at the refinery where an explosion killed four people has claimed the huge complex is a time-bomb waiting to go off. Four workers at the Chevron refinery, at Pembroke Dock, west Wales, were killed in what is being described as a “tragic industrial accident”.
A joint police and Health and Safety Executive investigation into the accident is under way and the refinery has been closed as a mark of respect to the dead.
Local people described the moment when the blast erupted from the complex and shook the surrounding area at 6.20pm on Thursday. Billowing black smoke gushed from the refinery and spread across the sky in what some have described as a “mushroom cloud”.
The fire at the refinery was caused by an explosion in a 730 cubic metre storage tank, which then caused damage to an adjacent tank. Chevron confirmed that four plant contractors died and another worker was receiving treatment in hospital for serious injuries. But as the community struggles to come to terms with the incident, some believe that the occasional accident is inevitable.
“At a refinery you are working within a time-bomb and at any time something can go wrong,” said Tony Spicer, 75, of Gwyther Street, Pembroke Dock.
The pensioner, a former welder at the refinery when it was owned by Texaco, added: “It is terrible when something like this happens. The lives of four people is a great loss. But this is not the first accident.
“I think that an accident and loss of life is inevitable from time to time. It’s not always human error, it is just something that can happen. Although it is regrettable, I was not surprised.”
A spokeswoman for Chevron said: “Chevron is hugely saddened by the death of four of its contractor colleagues in the incident yesterday evening and our thoughts go out to their families at this very difficult time. One contractor colleague remains in hospital, where he is still receiving treatment.”
She added: “We have now launched our own investigation, which will run in tandem with the HSE’s investigation. One storage tank is out of action and another is damaged, but other than that the plant itself remains fully operational and we do not anticipate any significant disruptions to supply.”
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