'Devastated' - Avonmouth explosion leaves community 'in shock' as four dead

  • Watch Richard Payne's report from Avonmouth

People living in Bristol have expressed their 'devastation' and 'shock' after four people were killed in an explosion at a water treatment works in Avonmouth.

Investigations are continuing into the cause of the blast, which happened on Thursday 4 December at a Wessex Water plant in Kings Weston Lane.

People living in surrounding communities have been paying tribute to those killed by visiting a nearby church that has opened for people to light candles and say prayers.

Reverend Fran Brealey, from St Peter's Church in Lawrence Weston, told ITV News West Country: "Today we've opened the church so people can come in if they want to pray or to light a candle, just to be quiet."

She added: "A number of colleagues from Wessex Water have come in and talked about the people they've lost, and what great people they were, and how they're feeling. They're devastated and in shock."

Rita Rich has lived in the community her whole life and said how "devastated" people are.

Rita Rich, who runs a local charity in Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton, described the event as "absolutely heartbreaking".

She told ITV News West Country: "I think this community is really distraught, because we have lost members. It has happened on our doorstep and I think people are genuinely very, very upset."

Three employees of Wessex Water and a contractor at the firm were killed when the explosion happened in a silo which treated biosolids before being recycled to land.

Fire crews, police and ambulances were called to the site at around 11.20am on Thursday (3 December), to what some people thought was an incident involving a wind turbine.

Myles Litson works for another company close to the plant in Avonmouth and described hearing "a massive bang" that left the whole office shaking.

He said: "Nothing as bad as this has happened in years".

An investigation is now underway to establish exactly what happened at the water recycling plant, which police confirmed will be led by multiple agencies.

Read more: