'Multiple casualties' after explosion at UK sewage plant

LONDON (AP) — A large explosion at a wastewater treatment facility near the southwest England city of Bristol resulted in “multiple casualties” Thursday, a local British emergency services department said.

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.

Chief Inspector Mark Runacres from the Avon and Somerset Police force said inquiries were underway into what caused the explosion at Wessex Water’s Bristol water recycling center.

“Officers remain at the scene and are likely to be for some time as we work together with other agencies in dealing with this major incident," Runacres said.

“Police inquiries into exactly what happened are at a very early stage and are continuing," he added.

Witness Jawad Burhan said there was a “helicopter looking for missing people” and that police had closed a road leading up to a warehouse 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.”

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