Page last updated at 19:29 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Three hurt in explosions at Bristol gas depot

Whitby Road explosion scene
There are a large number of industrial and trade units on the estate

Three men have been injured in a series of blasts at a gas depot on an industrial estate in Bristol.

Emergency services were called to the BOC Gases depot at Whitby Road in St Anne's shortly before 1450 GMT.

The main Bristol-to-Bath railway line, which runs near the site, has been closed and all services are diverted via Bristol Parkway station.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service say the area will be cordoned off for 27 hours because of the risk of further blasts.

Whitby Road, Feeder Road and other roads within 200 metres of the blast have also been closed and industrial units in the area evacuated.

Black smoke

The Avon Meads shopping centre and multiplex cinema have also been closed for safety reasons.

The blasts are believed to have taken place in a storage tank at the gas facility, as an employee attempted to cap a cylinder.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing two blasts in quick succession at the unit.

Plumes of black smoke then billowed from the site.

One of the injured men - understood to be in his 50s - has been taken to Frenchay Hospital with serious but not life-threatening burns.

The other two casualties have been treated in Bristol Royal Infirmary for minor wounds.

A statement from the company which owns the unit said: "BOC would like to express its concern for those who have been injured.

"Our emergency shutdown procedure was initiated and our deluge system activated to control the fire, which Avon Fire and Rescue Service have now confirmed has been contained.

"BOC very much regrets the inconvenience that has been caused to the local community."

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