Explosions as firefighters battle blaze at major oil refinery

Witnesses tell of ‘fireball explosions’ as firefighters battle huge blaze at major oil refinery

  • Firefighters are battling a huge inferno at the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Cheshire
  • Flames and clouds of thick black smoke could be seen billowing above the site
  • All staff at the site have been evacuated and are accounted for, fire service said

Firefighters are battling a huge blaze amid reports of ‘fireball explosions’ at a major oil refinery.

Flames and clouds of thick black smoke could be seen billowing above the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Cheshire.

Fire crews are currently battling against a huge fire in one of the manufacturing buildings at the Ellesmere Port facility, which is owned by gas giant Shell.

All staff at the site have been evacuated and are accounted for, said Cheshire Fire Service, which arrived on the scene at about 2.30pm.

Firefighters are battling a huge blaze amid reports of ‘fireball explosions’ at a major oil refinery

All staff at the site have been evacuated and are accounted for, said Cheshire Fire Service, which arrived on the scene at about 2.30pm.

Flames and clouds of thick black smoke could be seen billowing above at the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Cheshire

Fire engines from Powey Lane, Chester, Widnes and Northwich and two from Ellesmere Port are all battling the flames. 

Phil Owen was waiting for the ferry at Seacombe when he looked down the Mersey and saw what looked like an explosion.

He said: ‘I was just looking down the river at the refinery when I suddenly msaw a large flash and a fireball.


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‘There was a big plume of black smoke and then there was a really bright flare off.

‘There was a massive plume of black smoke, it was definitely not an insignificant explosion.’ 

The refinery employs more than 900 staff and an additional 500 on-site contractors, and supplies 16 per cent of all UK road transport fuels. 

Fire engines from Powey Lane, Chester, Widnes and Northwich and two from Ellesmere Port are all battling the flames

The refinery employs more than 900 staff and an additional 500 on-site contractors, and supplies 16 per cent of all UK road transport fuels

Stanlow produces 4.4 billion litres of diesel and three billion litres of petrol annually, according to Essar Oil UK. 

A spokeswoman for Essar Oil UK said: ‘Earlier this afternoon a fire occurred at the SHOP chemical plant. 

‘Both the site emergency services and Cheshire County Fire Service are in attendance to deal with the incident.

‘All personnel have been accounted for. Refinery operations at Stanlow remain unaffected.’

As of 3.30pm the force said the fire is confined to the site and crews are using a ground monitor and handheld monitor to extinguish pockets of flame.

All staff at the site have been evacuated and are accounted for, said Cheshire Fire Service, which arrived on the scene at about 2.30pm

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