LONDON (AP) — A local British emergency services department says there have been “multiple casualties” following a large explosion Thursday at a wastewater treatment facility near the southwest England city of Bristol.
The Avon Fire and Rescue Service said it was alerted at 11:22 a.m. to a large explosion in the industrial area of Avonmouth located near Bristol, which is about 120 miles (195 kilometers) west of London.
“We can confirm there are multiple casualties on site,” a fire service spokesman said. “The incident is ongoing.”
The fire service said its personnel were joined at the scene by Avon and Somerset Police officers and medics from the South West Ambulance Service.
“An explosion is believed to have occurred involving one of the chemical tanks at Wessex Water’s Bristol water recycling center," a police spokesman said.
“A rescue operation was subsequently led by the fire service, involving five appliances and two turntable crews and we can confirm there have been a number of casualties."
Witness Jawad Burhan said there was a “helicopter looking for missing people” and that police had closed a nearby road leading up to the warehouse, which he believed was being used as a waste center.
“I heard the sound, I’m working beside the building in another warehouse," he said. “After 10 minutes, I saw the helicopter coming and the police.”