LONDON - Very strong explosions, apparently accidental, then a huge fire took place in a fuel depot in 40 km north of London. Police reported 43 injured, one serious.
The record is "miraculous", said Commissioner Frank Whiteley, Hertfordshire police chief. The ten people at the Buncefield depot near Hemel Hempstead survived. One of them, which was only at 200 m of the explosion, was placed under respiratory assistance but is not considered critical condition.
The policeman reiterated that at this point, "everything converges towards the thesis of the accident". He notably refuted the thesis of some witnesses, according to which an airplane was at the origin of the explosions, the first of which occurred towards local 06h00.
These explosions were heard throughout the London area and into Surrey, about fifty km from the scene of the disaster. They have caused a fire whose flames were visible over 10 km radius, witnesses said.
Fire Chief County Whilsher Roy, said the fire was contained. However, it was likely to continue for several days before being extinguished.
The depot, operated jointly by Total and Texaco, is located in a complex that also operate BP, Shell and British Pipeline Agency. It usually stores 150 000 tons of fuel oil or petroleum derivatives.
He distributed by pipeline fuel to Luton airport - where flights continued normally Sundays - and Heathrow, where some cancellations were recorded during the day.
Meanwhile, a section of Highway M1 also had to be closed in both directions because of the smoke. It has gradually spread to the south, east and west, reaching all londonnienne region, where an unusual darkness veiled the sky Sunday afternoon. (Ats / December 11 2005 18: 56)
Exclusive pictures for econologie.com taken 17 km from the disaster site by Arnaud, econology of that we thank moderator.