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4 dead after an explosion at a water recycling center in the South West of England

LONDON – Four people have been killed and another injured in a major explosion at a water recycling center in south-west England, local police said on Thursday.

Earlier, Avon and Somerset police called the blast a “major incident” and said it was believed to have involved one of the chemical tanks at the Bristol water recycling center in Wessex Water, Avonmouth, a port and suburb of Bristol. at the mouth of the Severn. .

Three of the dead were Wessex Water employees and one was a contractor, Chief Inspector Mark Runacres of Avon and Somerset Police told a news conference. Injuries to the fifth person are not considered life-threatening, he added.

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The blast occurred in a silo containing treated biosolids before being recycled to the ground as an organic soil conditioner, Runacres said. He declined to speculate on the cause of the blast and said a full investigation into the incident would be conducted.

He said the blast was not treated as a terrorist incident and police believed there was no additional risk to the public.

Earlier, police said in a statement that the fire department, ambulance and police services were called to the scene of a major explosion around 1

1:20 a.m. Local time (6:20 p.m. ET). A rescue operation was subsequently led by the fire service, police said. Runacres said the search for the site had already been completed and that police believed everyone had been reported.

Police officers were present on Thursday at the site of a “big” explosion near Bristol, England. @ jawadburhan98 / AP

Earlier, a police spokesman told NBC News that the operation used a national police helicopter and a police drone, as well as fire and police crews on the ground.

Wessex Water CEO Colin Skelett said in a police statement that “we are absolutely devastated that the tragic incident on our site earlier today resulted in four deaths.”

Skeleton said Wessex Water is working to find out what happened and why.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said the city’s thoughts were with the families of those who died at the time.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also expressed his condolences, posting a tweet that he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the four deaths.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service initially said they were called for a major explosion at a warehouse in Avonmouth at 11:22 a.m. Local time (6:22 p.m. ET). A spokesman for the service later told NBC News that the site had worked to purify water waste.

Bristol Waste, who runs the Avonmouth recycling center, said he closed the center due to a nearby incident, but gave no further details.

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