Refinery complex was time-bomb, says ex-worker after blast death toll hits four

A former worker at the refinery where an explosion killed four people has claimed the huge complex is a time-bomb waiting to go off.

Four workers at the Chevron refinery, at Pembroke Dock, west Wales, were killed on Thursday in what is being described as a “tragic industrial accident”.

A joint police and Health and Safety Executive investigation into the accident was under way yesterday as the refinery closed as a mark of respect to the dead.

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The blast erupted from the complex and shook the surrounding area at about 6.20pm. Billowing black smoke gushed from the refinery and spread across the sky in what some have described as a “mushroom cloud”.

The fire at the refinery was caused by an explosion in a storage tank, which then caused damage to an adjacent tank.

Chevron confirmed that four plant contractors died and another worker was receiving treatment in hospital for serious injuries.

But as the community struggles to come to terms with the incident, some believe that the occasional accident is inevitable.

“At a refinery you are working within a time-bomb and at any time something can go wrong,” said Tony Spicer, 75, of Gwyther Street, Pembroke Dock.

The pensioner, a former welder, added: “I think that an accident and loss of life is inevitable from time to time. It’s not always human error, it is just something that can happen.”