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Explosion illuminates Oxfordshire sky after lightening strikes recycling plant

An explosion lit up the sky north of Oxford on Monday night after lightening struck a food waste recycling plant.

Witnesses claim they saw what has been described as a “fireball” light up the night sky, after a gas explosion at the Severn Trent Green Power Plant in Cassington, north of Oxford.

The company revealed that the strike caused one of its biogas tanks to explode at around 7.20pm on Monday evening, but fortunately nobody was injured.

Staff worked with the emergency services to secure the site following the blast, the company added.

Six fire engines and 40 firefighters were deployed to the plant, which processes food waste turning into biogas. Oxfordshire County Council said crews were using an aerial appliance and water tank as they worked to control the flames.

Nearby residents in Witney, Burford, Chipping Norton and Milton-under-Wychwood also reported power outages as a result of the blast.

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.”

Another local resident said on X, formerly Twitter: “We felt a shockwave and heard a loud rumble in the distance.

“I started recording about 10 seconds after we heard it, when I spotted it from the balcony (we didn’t know where it came from until then).”

Thames Valley Police said: “It is believed that lightning struck gas containers at the site during bad weather this evening, causing a large fire.”

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