Major incident declared and homes evacuated after large diesel train catches fire in Llangennech

Two workers have escaped unhurt after a freight train carrying a large amount of diesel oil derailed and caught fire near Llanelli.

Police declared a major incident after receiving reports of a fire in Llangennech at around 11.20pm on Wednesday night.

A large number of homes were evacuated, with around 300 people affected.

Natural Resources Wales said some of the diesel was making its way to the nearby River Loughor. However, it was "not currently safe" to get close enough to contain the diesel spill as the fire is still burning.

Officers told anyone living within 800m of the fire to evacuate and convene at Bryn School and Llangennech Community Centre. They have since been allowed to return home.

British Transport Police said the cause of the fire is unknown but confirmed it is investigating, with officers collecting key witness statements and CCTV footage.

BTP added that a "substantial risk" still remains and is advising people to avoid the area.

Credit: Archie Brown

Dyfed-Powys Police, British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene, with support from Carmarthenshire Council and Natural Resources Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: "This was a fast-moving situation, which was declared a major incident due to the initial risk of harm to people living in the area.

“The policing response was large scale, with officers across the force retained on duty to ensure we had sufficient resources to carry out the evacuation swiftly, as well as the deployment of a logistics specialist to assist and advise our officers on safely moving people from their homes to the reception points.

“The evacuation no doubt caused a significant amount of disruption for those evacuated in the middle of the night, and I would like to personally thank residents for their response, as well as our frontline officers who swiftly moved hundreds of residents out of their homes."

The A4138 Pontardulais Road has been closed from Troserch Road to M4 J48 due to the fire.

An investigation into the cause of the fire has been launched by the British Transport Police.

Natural Resources Wales said officers are providing advice to help manage the environmental impact of the diesel spill.

A spokesperson said: "We will fully assess the impact once the fire is under control and it's safe to do so."

Dyfed-Powys Police led an evacuation of the surrounding area which has since come to an end with residents allowed to return home. Credit: Adam Tilt

Superintendent Andy Morgan, of British Transport Police, said: “What we know is a freight train, carrying large amounts of diesel oil, caught fire and a number of its carriages also derailed. Thankfully, despite the clear danger, no injuries have been reported.

"The fire was significant due to the quantity of fuel it was carrying and presented a possible danger to the wider community. As a precaution, roads were shut, and Dyfed-Powys Police evacuated a large number of homes within a radius of the fire.

"I believe around 300 people were affected and I’d like to thank everyone for their understanding and quick action in what must have been a frightening time."