Tuesday, October 03, 2023
A significant gas explosion rocked Oxfordshire on Monday night after a lightning strike struck the Severn Trent Green Power Plant at Cassington, north of Oxford.
Witnesses described a dramatic fireball lighting up the night sky, but fortunately, no injuries have been reported.
The incident occurred at approximately 19:20 BST when a lightning bolt caused one of the biogas tanks at the Cassington facility to explode. Emergency services, including six fire engines, 40 firefighters, police, and ambulances, swiftly responded to the scene to assess and address the situation.
Severn Trent Green Power confirmed that their staff was cooperating with emergency services to secure the site and ensure its safety. They emphasized that no casualties had been reported and that paramedics were on standby to assist the police and fire service.
The Cassington AD plant, which processes food waste to produce biogas, is a vital part of the region's waste management infrastructure, handling over 50,000 tonnes of waste each year. The company also stated that it generates 2.1 megawatts of electricity and bio-fertiliser as part of its operations.
Local residents were advised to stay indoors, shut windows and doors, and not approach the scene as a precaution. Thames Valley Police attributed the incident to lightning striking gas containers during adverse weather conditions.
Temporary power outages were reported in various areas, including Witney, Burford, Chipping Norton, and Milton-under-Wychwood. The A40 road, initially closed between Wolvercote and Eynsham due to the incident, has since been reopened.
Witnesses described the terrifying moment when the lightning strike occurred, with one resident comparing the sky to pulsating orange. The incident serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of extreme weather events and the importance of quick and coordinated emergency responses to ensure public safety and minimize potential damage.
As the city's night sky was momentarily transformed into a blazing spectacle, eyewitnesses shared their accounts on social media.
Kit Yates, a local resident, captured a video of the mysterious event and pondered, "Saw this strange pulsing sky out of our windows looking northwest of Oxford. I'm guessing it's a fire caused by the lightning storm that passed over."
Kidlington resident Mahmet Ciftci described his experience, saying, "Just saw something here in Kidlington that looked like an explosion in the distance. We heard a rumble like thunder and saw flames in the distance. The horizon went orange for a while."