Fire crews work through night after lightning triggers blast at recycling plant
Severn Trent Green Power confirmed its Cassington facility was struck by lightning which caused an explosion in its biogas tanks.
Firefighters worked through the night after a lightning strike caused an explosion at a food waste recycling plant in Oxfordshire.
A tank at the Severn Trent Green Power facility just off the A40 in Cassington, near Yarnton, was hit shortly after 7.15pm on Monday.
Videos on social media showed a large fireball erupt and the sky in the area pulsing an orange colour.
No-one was injured in the incident.
Jack Frowde, 34, from Oxford, who works at Oxford University, said he was in his kitchen “when the whole room lit up with a brilliant white light, then followed by a huge crack which sounded like really heavy thunder”.
He added: “I looked out of the kitchen window and it was as if the sky was pulsating orange.
“I ran to the back to capture the orange glow as it faded after about 20 seconds.”
Stuart Hosking, in his 50s, from Oxford, an AI business director and former contestant on Big Brother, said: “We were pretty close. I thought it was the sun setting, until I saw the flickering and smoke.
“The lights flickered in the house then a flash, then a rumble like thunder, but a single bang.”
Severn Trent Green Power, a waste management company, confirmed a digester tank was struck by lightning which “caused an explosion in our biogas tanks”.
The company said it was working with the emergency services to make sure the site is safe.
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said 40 firefighters attended the scene after they were called at 7.17pm.
Three of the five digester tanks at the scene were damaged during the incident.
A spokesperson for the fire service added: “Firefighters have been there all night and remain in attendance.
“However there are now two appliances and a hydraulic platform on the scene compared to the six crews and other support vehicles at the height of the incident yesterday evening.
“The fire is under control and did not spread.”
Thames Valley Police said the A40 had been closed between Wolvercote and Eynsham but the road has since reopened.
The force previously urged residents to stay home and shut windows and doors.
A Severn Trent Green Power has urged people to stay away from its site on Tuesday.
A spokesperson said: “We’d like to thank the emergency services for their work overnight to contain and lead the incident at Cassington, where our plant was struck by lightning.
“Keeping our teams and the local community safe has been of paramount importance and we are relieved that no-one has been hurt.
“We will continue to work with the emergency services who are still on site as we assess the damage and while the fire is under control, we urge people not to come to the site today.”