'Enormous explosion' at Tata Steel captured on camera by terrified Port Talbot residents

The explosion took place on Sunday evening (October 1). Credit: Media Wales

A huge explosion in the Tata steelworks plant in Port Talbot was captured on camera by terrified residents.

The explosion took place on Sunday evening (October 1) and residents spoke of seeing a towering column of flame and billowing black smoke above the site.

One local, who rushed out of his home and began taking pictures, told of his immediate concern for his "family and friends" who work at the site.

A spokesperson for Tata Steel blamed Sunday's occurrence on "some operational instability on one of the blast furnaces." Credit: Media Wales

"At first I thought it was a gas explosion as the street where I live is currently being dug up to allow work on the main gas pipe.

"Then my daughter came running into the house when she saw the flames coming from the furnace. We have a lot of family and friends working there so we were very concerned," he said.Another resident, Karen Hall, was walking her dog in nearby Memorial Park, Taibach when she saw the "enormous explosion, flames and then that black smoke that others have posted."

A local resident added that large quantities of thick smoke had also been seen emerging from the plant in recent weeks, while another said the scene echoed the moment in April 2019 when a series of loud bangs shook the neighbouring houses and a huge mushroom cloud rose over the area.

At the time of that incident, the source of the explosion was initially cited as being spillage from a train carrying molten metal into the works.

No-one was seriously hurt - although two people did suffer minor injuries - leading to an external investigation being launched.

A spokesperson for Tata Steel said Sunday's incident was caused by "some operational instability on one of the blast furnaces," describing it as "rare.""This led to the safety-critical pressure release valve being triggered. It is very rare for the exhaust gases to ignite, which they did on this occasion.

"We apologise to local residents who may have been alarmed. The furnace quickly returned to normal operating parameters and no-one was harmed."