A massive “explosion” has been heard across Oxfordshire this evening after a lightning bolt struck a gas tank causing a huge fireball to shoot up into the night sky.
Police have confirmed they remain at the scene of the inferno that turned the sky orange and could be seen for miles around.
Locals in and around Oxford took to social media to share photographs and videos of the fireball lighting up the sky at around 7.20pm this evening (Monday, October 2).
Emergency services were seen rushing to the scene near Yarnton at Severn Trent Green Power, a waste management company, as some locals temporarily lost power.
One social media user wrote in amazement: “The sky was glowing for about two minutes then it just disappeared. It was like an explosion on the horizon.”
A Met Office yellow weather alert was in place over the city, warning residents of dangerous thunderstorms and downpours.
FOLLOW BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES
2 hours ago02:15 Matthew Jackson
‘I just wanted to get home quickly…’Corinna Bird was in a Sainsbury’s car park when she heard what she initially thought were fireworks. She said a “huge apocalyptic glow lit up the sky”. Speaking to The Times, she added: “I just wanted to get home quickly and out of the storm, funny thing was it didn’t feel like a storm, it wasn’t even raining very much.”
Corinna Bird was in a Sainsbury’s car park
4 hours ago23:53 Matthew Jackson
‘It was quite eerie…’A resident nearby has described the moment the explosion happened earlier toinight. Fred Toon, from Kidlington, said: “I heard what sounded like an explosionand then looked outside to see the sky glowing orange and red and pulsating. It was quite eerie.
“I could then hear sirens in the distance.”
5 hours ago23:35 Matthew Jackson
Lights ‘flickered’ before a flash and a ‘bang’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.”
6 hours ago22:45 Isabella Marsans
Four ambulances are at the sceneFour ambulances have been spotted outside the Severn Trent Green Power facility, according to ITV Meridian reporter Wesley Smith.
The company has confirmed that no staff members were injured in the blast.
Four ambulances have just been allowed through the gate into the plant at the centre of the explosion which lit up the skies near Yarnton/Cassington. No reports of injuries, but this is concerning. More @itvmeridian at 10.30pm pic.twitter.com/4pMmBcpOxO
u2014 Wesley Smith (@wesleysmithtv) October 2, 2023 6 hours ago22:42 Isabella Marsans
Snaps from the scene show the sky illuminated in bright pink and orange lightsPictures from areas close to the huge fire show the sky lit up in extraordinary colours.
Oxford explosion (Image: PA)
6 hours ago22:36 Isabella Marsans
Large cordon put in place as emergency services deal with incidentThames Valley Police said the A40 had been closed between Wolvercote and Eynsham, and urged residents to stay home and shut windows and doors.
6 hours ago22:30 Isabella Marsans
Image reveals explosion lighting up the night skyImages from the scene show the moment the explosion lit up the night sky.
Explosion in Oxford (Image: Twitter)
6 hours ago22:24 Isabella Marsans
‘My whole room lit up with a brilliant white light after lightning struck gas tank’One resident revealed that their whole “room lit up” following the explosion.
Jack Frowde, 34, from Oxford, who works at Oxford University, told the BBC: “I was sitting in my kitchen when the whole room lit up with a brilliant white light, then followed by a huge crack which sounded like really heavy thunder.
“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.”
6 hours ago22:20 Isabella Marsans
No staff members were injured in the blast, Severn Trent Green Power Plant saysNo one was injured following the blast, Severn Trent Green Power Plant revealed.
The company added that staff are working with the emergency services to secure the site, which is located in Cassington, north of Oxford.
A spokesperson for Severn Trent Green Power said: “This evening a digester tank at our Cassington facility near Yarnton, Oxfordshire, has been struck by lightning which has caused an explosion in our biogas tanks.
“Thankfully no one has been hurt and we are working with the emergency services to make sure the site is safe so that we can assess the damage as soon as possible.”
6 hours ago22:10 Isabella Marsans
Six fire engines and 40 firefighters on the scene tacking the huge infernoAfter the lightning bolt struck a biogas container, emergency services scrambled to extinguish the massive flames.
Six fire engines, 40 firefighters and rescue personnel rushed to the scene as well as an aerial appliance and water tanker.
Fire and rescue operations are ongoing and a spokesman for the service said there would be no further updates Monday evening.
6 hours ago22:05 Isabella Marsans
More shocking videos from the blaze emergeA resident from nearby town Headington shared footage of the huge fire on social media.
6 hours ago21:48 Isabella Marsans
Residents urged to keep windows closed following massive blazeResidents near the Yarnton facility have reportedly been urged to keep their windows closed while emergency services continue to tackle the ongoing blaze.
7 hours ago21:29 Isabella Marsans
Gas containers struck by lightning causing massive fireSevern Trent Green Power have confirmed that the “explosion” seen earlier this evening was caused by a lightening bolt striking a digester tank in a facility near Yarnton.
The incident occured around 7:20pm Monday evening.
u25b6ufe0f UPDATE: Severn Trent Green Power confirm that at around 19:20 this evening, a digester tank at its Cassington AD facility near Yarnton, Oxfordshire, was struck by lightning resulting in the biogas within that tank igniting.
u2014 BBC Radio Oxford (@BBCOxford) October 2, 2023 7 hours ago21:26 Isabella Marsans
Police currently at the scene of the fire – ‘believed to be caused by lightning’Thames Valley Police have confirmed that they are at the scene of the fire.
They added that it is believed the incident was caused by a lightening strike.
They took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and said: “Our officers are currently at the scene of a fire at a waste plant near Yarnton, Oxfordshire.
“It is believed that lightning struck gas containers at the site during bad weather this evening, causing a large fire.”
Our officers are currently at the scene of a fire at a waste plant near Yarnton, Oxfordshire.
It is believed that lightning struck gas containers at the site during bad weather this evening, causing a large fire. pic.twitter.com/Xy50berg1T
u2014 TVP_WestOxon (@TVP_WestOxon) October 2, 2023 7 hours ago21:17 Isabella Marsans
Residents report seeing ‘flames in the distance’A social media user has reported seeing flames amid the suspected lightning strike.
Mahmet Ciftci posted on X: “Just saw something here in Kidlington that looked like an explosion in the distance.
“We heard a rumble like thunder and saw flames in the distance. The horizon went orange for a while.”
The true cause behind the explosion remains unconfirmed.
7 hours ago21:11 Isabella Marsans
Police and firefighters ‘rushed to scene’One eyewitness said they saw emergency services rush to the scene after the blast.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, they wrote: “I don’t know what it was but it was massive. There were lots of fire brigade and police cars minutes later going through A40.”
7 hours ago21:05 Isabella Marsans
Resident says they were left without power all evening after ‘deafening’ blastAna Cavey, who lives in Somerton, about 15 miles north of Oxford, said a “deafening” lightening strike rocked her town, leaving her without power all evening.
She told Sky News: “We’ve had the most unbelievable thunder and lightning storm ever… it came out of nowhere and the noise was incredible.
“A lightning strike hit right outside my house and it was deafening. It was terrifying. Awful.
“Our power has just come back on but we’ve been without power all evening until now.”
7 hours ago21:00 Isabella Marsans
Local says ‘sky was pulsating’ as the strange ‘explosion’ rocks cityOne resident took to social media to describe the terrifying ordeal.
They wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “So strange, sky was pulsating.”
Meanwhile another user, Joshua Bull, said: “Definitely some kind of explosion – sounds like it’s out near Yarnton?
“Must have been huge, I’m in Marston and thought it was a car crashing outside my flat.”
7 hours ago20:56 Isabella Marsans
The ‘explosion’ comes as thunderstorms batter the nationThe Met Office has issued urgent thunderstorm warnings covering large parts of England.
The warning, which is already in place and is set to last until 2am Tuesday morning, urges people to be vigilant as there is a risk of lethal hail, damage to buildings and power cuts.
Oxford has been affected by thunderstorms this evening, as many residents have reported lighting strikes in the area.
One witness told Sky News: “I’m guessing it’s a fire caused by the lightning storm that passed over.”
The Met Office has issued urgent thunderstorm warnings (Image: Met Office)
7 hours ago20:49 Isabella Marsans
Did you see the explosion?Did you see the explosion? Please get in touch! Email [email protected]
8 hours ago20:34 Isabella Marsans
Social media user spots the fireball while traveling on A34One X user, formerly Twitter, spotted the massive ball of flame from while travelling on the A34.
They shared the shocking scene on X.
8 hours ago20:24 Isabella Marsans
More footage emerges from the incidentSocial media users have shared footage from the incident.
It is still unknown what caused the blast.
8 hours ago20:12 Isabella Marsans
Some locals reported the sky turned red in a terrifying momentSnaps from the scene reveal the sky turning an unnatural colour in the terrifying incident.
Anybody else in Oxford just see that fireball
?? Loud explosion and then the sky just did this ?? ( keep in mind itu2019s supposed to be dark ) pic.twitter.com/Yzj693eKF2
u2014 Stuart Hosking (@Stuartbigbro2) October 2, 2023 8 hours ago20:08 Isabella Marsans
Shocking footage taken of the incidentX user, formerly known as Twitter, captured the blast from near Wolvercote Cemetery.
The local speculated the incident must have been between Eynsham and Kidlington Airport.
8 hours ago20:06 Isabella Marsans
Some residents say they temporarily lost powerFollowing the fireball, some X users, formerly Twitter, reported they lost power.
One wrote: “Was not sure if a substation had been hit at first as we lost power temporarily.”
8 hours ago20:04 Isabella Marsans
Residents report “explosion” North-West of OxfordSome social media users said they “heard it clearly”, while others shared shocking images of the night sky illuminated by the unknown bang.
One X user, formerly known as Twitter, wrote: “Did anyone just see the skies over Oxford a minute ago? Don’t think I’ve seen orange lightning before!”