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British Officials Report Multiple Casualties from Explosion Near Bristol

In this photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @jawadburhan98, police officers attend the scene of a "large" explosion, Thursday Dec. 3, 2020. A local emergency services department says fire and rescue workers are responding to a…

British emergency officials Thursday say a large blast near a water treatment facility in southwest Britain has resulted in “multiple casualties.”

In a statement, the Avon and Somerset Police said the explosion is believed to involve one of several chemical tanks at a water recycling center in the industrial area of Avonmouth, located near Bristol, about 195 kilometers west of London.

They provided no details regarding the casualties.

Witnesses at a nearby warehouse reported hearing a loud “bang” and felt the building shake late morning, local time.

Pictures shared on social media by first responders and others show a tank with a large hole ripped in the top, and a helicopter and emergency services on the scene.

The police department said a rescue operation was carried out a short time later, led by the local fire service, and crews from at least eight municipalities responded, including paramedic teams and a helicopter crew.

A chief inspector with local police said they have cordoned off the area and a full investigation is underway. He said officers from multiple agencies will likely remain at the scene for some time.