Large explosion near fuel depot north of London

Large explosion near fuel depot north of London

LONDON – A series of explosions at one of Britain’s largest oil depots shook an area north of London early yesterday, shattering windows of nearby houses and sending billowing clouds of smoke and flames high into the sky.

Police said the blasts appeared to be accidental. Hertfordshire Fire Brigade said it had scrambled at least 12 crews to Buncefield Oil Terminal, near Hemel Hempstead and described it as a major incident.Hertforshire Police said in a statement there was nothing to indicate the blasts were an act of terrorism.Some local residents had reported hearing an aircraft flying low overhead shortly before the first explosion at around 6 a.m..But police said there was “nothing to suggest a plane was involved.”Nearby Luton Airport remained open and flights were operating normally.The BBC reported an unspecified number of casualties, which police and local fire brigade could not confirm.Residents in Hemel Hempstead north of London, reported a loud boom and some felt their houses shake.The blast was so large it was felt throughout a large part of London and the surrounding region.Police said the M10 highway was completely closed and sections of the M1, a major route into London, were also shut.”There was a loud boom and the house shook violently,” said Duncan Milligan, of Hemel Hempstead, who said the blast woke him up.”I am about three miles from where the explosion took place but I can see flames high in the sky and smoke billowing everywhere.” Video taken from the scene showed flames and smoke billowing into the air.Sky News said the Ramada Hotel in Hemel Hemstead was evacuated after windows were shattered by the blast but personnel at the hotel offered no immediate comment.Local resident Graeme North reported a “great column of smoke” at the oil deport and said the blast damaged several houses nearby.”The garage door was blown open,” he told Sky.”The blast wave blew bath panels off.”Local resident Richard Ayers said a massive column of smoke rose some three miles into the air and said the force of explosions had blown the roofs off houses near the oil depot.”It is like it is doomsday,” he told the BBC.- Nampa-APHertfordshire Fire Brigade said it had scrambled at least 12 crews to Buncefield Oil Terminal, near Hemel Hempstead and described it as a major incident.Hertforshire Police said in a statement there was nothing to indicate the blasts were an act of terrorism.Some local residents had reported hearing an aircraft flying low overhead shortly before the first explosion at around 6 a.m..But police said there was “nothing to suggest a plane was involved.”Nearby Luton Airport remained open and flights were operating normally.The BBC reported an unspecified number of casualties, which police and local fire brigade could not confirm.Residents in Hemel Hempstead north of London, reported a loud boom and some felt their houses shake.The blast was so large it was felt throughout a large part of London and the surrounding region.Police said the M10 highway was completely closed and sections of the M1, a major route into London, were also shut.”There was a loud boom and the house shook violently,” said Duncan Milligan, of Hemel Hempstead, who said the blast woke him up.”I am about three miles from where the explosion took place but I can see flames high in the sky and smoke billowing everywhere.” Video taken from the scene showed flames and smoke billowing into the air.Sky News said the Ramada Hotel in Hemel Hemstead was evacuated after windows were shattered by the blast but personnel at the hotel offered no immediate comment.Local resident Graeme North reported a “great column of smoke” at the oil deport and said the blast damaged several houses nearby.”The garage door was blown open,” he told Sky.”The blast wave blew bath panels off.”Local resident Richard Ayers said a massive column of smoke rose some three miles into the air and said the force of explosions had blown the roofs off houses near the oil depot.”It is like it is doomsday,” he told the BBC.- Nampa-AP

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