Celsa steelworks fire: Four hospitalised and two missing following explosion at facility

A local hospital has urged the public to avoid visiting their A&E department unless "absolutely necessary" as it deals with the "major incident" 

Kashmira Gander
Wednesday 18 November 2015 12:06
An ambulance leaves the Celsa Manufacturing factory in Cardiff, where emergency services were called following reports of an explosion
An ambulance leaves the Celsa Manufacturing factory in Cardiff, where emergency services were called following reports of an explosion

The emergency services have been called to a fire at a steelworks in Cardiff, following an explosion which hospitalised four people and left two people missing.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the Celsa Steel UK facility on East Moors Road, Splott, at around 10:30am to reports of an explosion.

A member of the steelworker's union Community said that the fire took place in the bar and rod mill on the site, not at the steel plant itself.

The fire injured five people in total. Four people have been taken to hospital, while one was treated and discharged at the scene. A further two people are currently anaccounted for according to South Wales Police.

The fire has been extinguished and the emergency services are working to locate the two that are missing.

Police attend the scene 

A spokesman for the fire service confirmed that officers were searching the facility following a fire in a basement.

Jennie Griffiths, Head of the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service Fire Control tweeted that an ambulance attended the scene.

As casualties from the fire were rushed to A&E, the Cardiff and Vale University Hospital Board urged the public to avoid visiting the emergency department unless "absolutely necessary".

Its major incident protocols have since been stepped down, but the board warned the public that non-emergency patients at the Emergency Unit at University Hospital of Wales may still experience delays.

Tremorfa major incident update – 2pmThe Health Board has now stood down its major incident which was called by South...

Posted by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board on Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Police are currently guarding the site, and are not letting the public pass through the security gates.

An unnamed eye-witness told Wales Online that there was a "huge explosion" which "shook County Hall"."Thick black smoke then bellowed out of the steel works," the witness said. A spokesman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service was unable to confirm these reports.

A local businessman who did not want to be identified told BBC News: "We heard a very loud explosion and then saw smoke coming up."

"It was a massive explosion, really something. The building we are in shook. We are only 100, 200 yards away from where it happened."

The Celsa Steel UK building

Tweets have suggested that a blast was felt in Cardiff Centre.

A spokesman for the steelworkers' union Community said: "We are extremely concerned by reports of an explosion at the Celsa steel works in Cardiff.

"Our immediate thoughts are with the individuals affected and their families.

"We understand the incident was in the bar and rod mill on the site, not in the steel plant.

"A member of our regional team is on his way to the site now to see what assistance we can offer and to seek further clarity on what has happened."

The incident comes after three workers from the plant were taken to hospital with burns last year.

Politicians have been sending their thoughts to those affected by the fire.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said, according to Wales Online: "I am concerned about the industrial incident at the Celsa Steelworks. My thoughts are with the workers and families affected, along with the emergency services as they go about their work.

"Celsa is an important employer in Cardiff, and I know that hundreds of families will be concerned at today’s news."

Welsh Labour & Co-Op Assembly Member for Cardiff South & Penarth Vaughan Gething also expressed his concern.

Celsa Steel employs over 500 staff members and several hundred sub-contractors in South Wales, and is the largest producer of reinforcement in the UK, according to its website.

The facility in Cardiff produces and delivers around 1.2million tonnes of steel each year, mainly to UK and Irish markets.

More to follow

Additional reporting by PA

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