View Full Version : Massive Explosion

11-12-2005, 07:52:58
There's been a massive explosion near London. It's at an oil depot near Hemel Hempstead / St Albans. About 6/7 miles north of Watford where I live.

Very scary. Got woken up at 6am. House shook like it was a major earthquake, loft hatch crashed down.

Can't see the flames from here, but in the north its much darker than it should be but there is a lot of fog around still.

Rumours about a plane crash but that seems unlikely.


11-12-2005, 08:36:10
explosion woke you up before you went went?

about that rumour: plane >>>>> jets no propeller.

11-12-2005, 09:06:52
Saw it on the news, that was one huge blast.
Any more inconveniences then waking up so early?

11-12-2005, 11:55:43
Saw it on the news, hoping my place is far enough away not to have been effected when I get back. Think it must be but will only know for sure tonight.

11-12-2005, 12:00:51
Will post some pictures of the smoke in a bit. It covers half the horizon!

11-12-2005, 12:16:02
Was a satellite picture on the news jsut now where you could see the smoke cover most of the hertfordshire area.

11-12-2005, 12:28:56
my parents just phoned from the M25, they are driving past hemel hempsted, apparently its like the middle of the night its so dark

11-12-2005, 13:00:59
impressive sight.


more photos on flickr


Walrus Feeder
11-12-2005, 14:18:27
I was woken up by the ongoing news reports of this this morning as my hi-fi radio came on at about 9am. It was really surreal though as I was still half asleep and coming to the end of a weird dream and the imagery of the explosion and darkening sky started to interact with my dream - weird stuff! :eek:

11-12-2005, 16:36:39

I'm guessing I live about 50-60 miles away from Hemel Hempstead, and the sky was a funny colour even here (before it got dark, now it's just black).

11-12-2005, 16:50:24
I didn't see/hear/notice anything until I saw this thread.

11-12-2005, 17:18:09
I was thinking the pollution haze seemed bad today.

11-12-2005, 17:23:02
I meant to post this photo, not that last one...


The Mad Monk
11-12-2005, 17:59:34

Massive blaze rages at fuel depot

Images of smoke and blasts

In pictures
A fire is continuing to blaze at a fuel depot in Hertfordshire after a series of large explosions sent black smoke drifting across south-east England.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has visited the scene of the blasts which injured 43 people, two seriously.

A fire chief described the incident at the Buncefield fuel depot near Hemel Hempstead, after 0600 GMT, as possibly the largest in peacetime Europe.

The fire, which police believe was an accident, could burn for another day.

About 2,000 people living near the site have been evacuated, while police have advised others to keep their windows and doors closed because of fumes.

Map of explosion area

Thick clouds of smoke are spreading to the south-east and south-west of the site.

One person is in Watford General Hospital in intensive care with respiratory problems. Another person is in Hemel Hempstead Hospital being kept under observation.

The other 41 people were treated for minor injuries and discharged.

Witnesses said another two explosions followed the first at 0626 GMT and 0627 GMT at the site near junction 8 of the M1.

Further explosions

In total, 20 petrol tanks were involved, each said to hold three million gallons of fuel.

"Haden Robbins

I was woken by the explosion and was overwhelmed with curiosity.

I jumped on my bike to see what had happened. At the top of the hill I could see secondary explosions in the distance and guessed it was Buncefield as I used to work opposite the depot."
Your experiences from the blast zone

In pictures
A police investigation into the incident has begun, including investigations by anti-terrorist police.

But Chief Con Whiteley said there was "nothing to suggest anything other than an accident".

On his visit to the site Mr Prescott praised the response and offered government help but was told the emergency services were able to cope.

Hertfordshire's Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher said: "This is possibly the largest incident of its kind in peacetime Europe."

Samples of the smoke are being taken to determine the long term effects of exposure, if any, according to Dr Jane Halpin, director of Hertfordshire Public Health.

She said: "However, what I would restate is that those people who are most at risk are those people who have inhaled the smoke."

Tanker driver Paul Turner said he ran for his life after the explosion lifted him off his feet.

"I just saw this great big ball of fire come up from behind the building. It was about 50 metres wide," he told the BBC.

"Then there was the loudest explosion I have ever heard in my life. I got up, turned around and ran to my car and sped out of there as fast as I could."

Many houses have been damaged, with some reporting feeling effects from the explosion as far away as Oxfordshire - while it was heard in a number of counties and even France and the Netherlands.

School closures

Eye witnesses reported buckled front doors, cracked walls and blown-out windows.

Of the 2,000 people evacuated 290 people have gone to a leisure centre while 50 others have been offered bed and breakfast accommodation.

The M1 is closed both ways between junctions 6a and 12 and may remain shut on Monday.

Schools in and around Hemel Hempstead are likely to be closed on Monday, said police.

We heard an explosion and the whole house shook
Anil Taank, Northwood, Middlesex

Send us your experiences
Read more of your comments
The M10 motorway is closed in both directions between junction 1 and junction 7 as well as some arterial roads in Hemel Hempstead.

Motorists have been told not to go "anywhere near the M1 from the M25 upwards".

At Heathrow airport some flights were forced to delay landing because of smoke, but Luton airport was operating as usual.

The Buncefield depot is a major distribution terminal operated by Total and part-owned by Texaco, storing oil, petrol as well as kerosene which supplies airports across the region, including Heathrow and Luton.

The country's fifth largest fuel distribution depot, it is also used by BP, Shell and British Pipeline.

Police said there was no indication the explosion would cause fuel shortages and warned against panic-buying.

A spokesman for Total said: "We are doing everything we can to support the emergency services and to bring the situation under control."

A spokesman for the Department for Trade and Industry said it was too early to say what the effect would be on fuel supply but oil companies were getting oil from other parts of the south east and across the UK.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said it would be investigating the incident.

Concerned relatives can call a police casualty bureau on 0800 096 0095, or from abroad on 0207 1580125.


The Mad Monk
11-12-2005, 18:08:49
How in hell was nobody killed?

11-12-2005, 19:08:04
Doubt a petrol storage has an awful lot of people walking around on it at 6am on sunday morning. Would've been worse if it was a weekday.

12-12-2005, 08:08:52
Ah it seems Hemel is as far left of St. Albans, as I am to the right. No evidence of it here.

What amazes me is to learn today that the fire services have done nothing yet. They're thinking of starting soon !! Over a day later.

I'm sure it isn't an easy thing to tackle but how come they don't have the plans in advance ready to go, and start immediately ? Seems like they're trying to maximise the environmental damage.

The Norks
12-12-2005, 08:15:19
they can't get near it yet, it has to stabilise and die down first.

12-12-2005, 08:22:12
That's not what the news items I've seen have claimed. It refers to talking, because some were worried that foam would pollute water supplies. Something I'd have hoped was already considered.

The Norks
12-12-2005, 08:27:44
that's what they said on the news last night- you can't just go up to it and pour stuff on, you have to wait till its manageable otherwise its a waste of resource and potentially dangerous. They didn't mention environmental concerns but I imagine that's in there too. Even if they've done risk assessments and incident plans they still can't be expected to have instant solutions to something this big. They seem to have it under control- what makes me angry is fucking looters. Bastards.

12-12-2005, 09:02:50
Putting out huge oil fires is really hard.

12-12-2005, 09:05:47
no it's not
Just stop the oxygen input

12-12-2005, 09:06:33

12-12-2005, 09:15:20
Was i not supposed to smoke there? Sorry.

Greg W
12-12-2005, 09:20:18
God, and for a second, I thought my fart last night was heard in London... :nervous:

12-12-2005, 11:20:53
They're still looking for the cause.

12-12-2005, 11:53:19
Ah ha ! Now I 'see'. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4520430.stm)

Crews plan to cover the flames by creating a giant "foam blanket". ... The smothering operation could not begin until firefighters had gathered sufficient supplies of foam concentrate from around the country.

12-12-2005, 11:55:31
They also had to build a road...

The Mad Monk
13-12-2005, 06:13:13
...since the original one seems to have disappeared, somehow.

13-12-2005, 06:54:03
See all the those on the BBS comments pages using this to push their pet beliefs, by either saying, thank goodness it wasn't a nuclear power station, or by saying it was due to be burnt anyway, so this is no different :rolleyes:

14-12-2005, 11:08:58
Police have admitted that George Best wasn’t buried in Belfast, and the decision to cremate him in Hemel Hempstead on Sunday morning may have been a mistake.