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Major incident declared as Milford Haven fuel train derails in Carmarthenshire

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RESIDENTS are being evacuated from their homes after a large diesel freight train, taking fuel from Milford Haven to Reading, caught fire in Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed Powys Police said emergency services were dealing with the blaze, involving at least three carriages, at Llangennech, near Llanelli.

It is thought that the train was hauling hundreds of thousands of litres of diesel fuel.

Command post for the incident (Pic Herald/R Milsom)

Dramatic images and footage from the scene near Llangennech show flames and smoke towering into the sky.

An evacuation zone has been put in place, with residents taking shelter at both Bryn School and at the Llangennech Community Centre.

British Transport Police added on Twitter: “Emergency services are currently dealing with an incident on the railway near Llangennech, Wales.

“A large diesel freight train has caught fire. A cordon is in place, with roads closed and surrounding homes being evacuated. Please avoid the area.”

Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This is a fast-moving situation, which has been declared a major incident.

“There are a significant number of emergency services personnel at the scene, and an evacuation zone has been put in place.

“Officers are in contact with people within that area asking them to leave their homes, and we urge people to comply with officers’ requests to ensure a swift and efficient evacuation.

“We are working closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.”

Firefighters from Llanelli and Swansea dealing with the train fire (Pic Herald/R Milsom)

Updates will follow as the incident progresses, Mr Evans added.

In an official statement, Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Emergency services are currently dealing with a train fire in Llangennech.

“The incident was reported at just before 11.20pm on Wednesday, August 26, when three carriages of a diesel train were alight.

“Dyfed-Powys Police, British Transport Police and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are currently in attendance, with support from Carmarthenshire Council and Natural Resources Wales.
“Road closures are in place. People are asked to avoid the Llangennech and Hendy areas, and vehicles on the M4 are being asked to continue to Pont Abraham.

“Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This is a fast-moving situation, which has been declared a major incident.

“There are a significant number of emergency services personnel at the scene, and an evacuation zone has been put in place.

“Officers are in contact with people within that area asking them to leave their homes, and we urge people to comply with officers’ requests to ensure a swift and efficient evacuation.

“We are working closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.”

“Updates will follow as the incident progresses.”

Emergency services coordinate to tackle train fire (Images: Herald/R Milsom)

LIVE UPDATES

02:13am UPDATE: Fire service: That three carriages of the train are currently on fire.

02:14am UPDATE: Police: “An evacuation zone has been put in place, with officers contacting people in this area to leave their homes and convene at Bryn School.”

02:14: UPDATE: Police: “Please comply with requests to ensure a swift evacuation process. Several roads are also closed. Please avoid the Llangennech area.”

03:30am UPDATE: Police: “We are receiving a lot of enquiries about the evacuation zone in Llangennech, as people in the area are understandably concerned.”

3:35am UPDATE: Police: “We would like to reassure that officers are calling at homes which need to be evacuated, and a police presence will remain in these streets. If you have not had personal contact from a police officer, please stay indoors and keep your windows closed.

5:00am UPDATE: Herald reporter on scene: “Locomotive has just arrived. Taking 18 carriages 300 meters away from the crash site, as they can’t take them away due to investigation.”

5:52am UPDATE: Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This was a fast-moving situation, which was declared a major incident due to the initial risk of harm to people living in the area.

“The policing response was large scale, with officers across the force retained on duty to ensure we had sufficient resources to carry out the evacuation swiftly, as well as the deployment of a logistics specialist to assist and advise our officers on safely moving people from their homes to the reception points.

“The evacuation no doubt caused a significant amount of disruption for those evacuated in the middle of the night, and I would like to personally thank residents for their response, as well as our frontline officers who swiftly moved hundreds of residents out of their homes.

“My thanks also go to our emergency services colleagues for their response, and partners at the local authority for their assistance in finding and opening Bryn School and Llangennech Community Centre as safe points.

“Officers will continue to be visible in Llangennech, and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a conclusion.”

06:12 UPDATE: Reporter on scene: “Initial reports are that the locomotive involved was a Class 66 locomotive belonging to DB Cargo UK. Unconfirmed source from railtrack said that the driver managed to uncouple and move undamaged carriages to prevent a larger fire.”

06:14 UPDATE: Reporter on scene: “Driver was not injured in the incident.”

6:30: UPDATE: British Transport Police: “Enquiries are underway into the causes of a major incident on the railway in LLangennech, Wales, where a freight train carrying large quantities of diesel caught fire. British Transport Police were called to the scene at 11.29pm on Wednesday 26 August. Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Dyfed-Powys Police are also in attendance. A number of carriages derailed and caught fire. Two employees were on board the freight service. They have since been accounted for and no injuries have been reported. The fire continues and there is still a substantial risk within its immediate vicinity, so our advice remains for people to avoid the area. Our officers will be conducting initial enquiries into the incident and are in the process of securing key witness statements and CCTV.  Once the fire has been extinguished, and the scene is safe to assess and investigate, we’ll be working with the Office of Rail and Road and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch to establish the exact circumstances behind the incident.”

09:31: UPDATE: Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans  said “My thanks also go to our emergency services colleagues for their response, and partners at the local authority for their assistance in finding and opening Bryn School and Llangennech Community Centre as safe points.

“Officers will continue to be visible in Llangennech, and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a conclusion.”

13:06: UPDATE: Fire brigade update Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service remain at the scene of a major incident in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire.
Joint Fire Control received the first call at 11:10pm on Wednesday (Aug 26).
A freight train, carrying large amounts of diesel oil, caught fire and a number of its carriages had also derailed.
British Transport Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, Wales Ambulance Service Trust, Carmarthenshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales have also attended the incident on the railway line near Llangennech.
At the height of the fire, 14 main appliances were deployed to the incident, along with a high-volume pump, a support vehicle, an environmental unit, a water bowser and a foam pad. Firefighters fought the fire from two sectors.
Fire Service operations have since been scaled down to 8 main appliances, a high-volume pump and a foam tender.
As a precaution, roads were shut, and Dyfed-Powys Police evacuated a large number of homes within a radius of the fire.
Area Manager Simon Jenkins, Corporate Head of Response said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to our crews, who have worked tirelessly to fight and contain the fire at a challenging location and in difficult weather circumstances. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their support and patience to our crews, during what is a very difficult time for local residence and business.”

13:33: UPDATE: Carmarthenshire County Council: “We continue to support emergency services and partner organisations to deal with a major incident in Llangennech. Over a hundred residents were evacuated overnight after a freight train carrying diesel derailed and caught fire. People living within an 800m cordon were asked to leave their homes as a precaution, with a rest centre set up by the council at the nearby local primary school. They have since been allowed to return. Roads around the area were closed for several hours overnight, however only one remains closed – the B4279 Pontarddulais Road, near the Talyclun junction, at Llangennech. British Transport Police are leading the emergency response to the incident, with Dyfed-Powys Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Natural Resources Wales, Carmarthenshire County Council and other partner agencies working alongside them. Natural Resources Wales has confirmed it will assess the impact of the diesel spill as soon as it is safe to do so. Further information will be made available throughout the day. Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “I would like to thank all emergency services, including our officers, for their swift response to this major incident. I thank all residents who have been affected and who co-operated with requests in what was a frightening situation. Thanks also to staff at Llangennech and Bryn primary schools that opened up to support the emergency response. We will continue to work with emergency services and partners to deal with the aftermath of this incident for as long as is necessary.”

A police helicopter circles above the train fire (Pic R Milsom/Herald)

Police block access to the exclusion zone (Pic Herald/R Milsom)

 

The fire has been described has huge (Image @MissJones1994 Twitter)

Business

The Range’s Swansea Store Shortlisted for ‘Best Christmas Display’

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Christmas has arrived early for The Range stores in Wales, boasting gigantic displays of all-things festive! The Range is well known for going all out during the Christmas season to create a fun and magical experience full of trees, lights, decorations and much more for their customers to enjoy and this year is no exception. The Range in Swansea surpassed expectations with a display so great, it’s left them shortlisted for ‘Best Christmas Display’ out of all The Range’s 182 stores.

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Local coronavirus restrictions imposed to control outbreaks in South Wales

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Coronavirus laws are being tightened in four more Welsh authorities – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport – following a sharp rise in cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething today announced.

The new measures will come into force at 6pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020, to protect people’s health and control the spread of the virus in the four local authority areas.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport:

People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;
All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm;
Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales.
From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September, the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm will also be extended to Caerphilly borough.

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“Following the decision to place additional coronavirus restrictions in place in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, we have seen a worrying and rapid rise in cases in four other south Wales council areas – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport.

“In many cases, this is linked to people socialising indoors without social distancing. We are seeing evidence of coronavirus spreading. We need to take action to control and, ultimately, reduce its spread and protect people’s health.

“It’s always a difficult decision to introduce restrictions but coronavirus has not gone away – it is still circulating in communities across Wales and, as we are seeing in parts of South Wales, small clusters can quickly cause real issues in local communities.

“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”

The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.

The Welsh Government will call an urgent meeting of all local authority, health board and police forces from Bridgend to the English border tomorrow to discuss the wider situation in South Wales and whether further measures are needed across the region to protect people’s health.

The new local restrictions measures will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.

Keep Wales safe by:

Always keeping your distance
Washing your hands regularly
Working from home wherever you can
Following any local restrictions
Following the rules about meeting people
Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.

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Welsh legislation will restrict those travelling from hotspot areas

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MARK Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, has today announced legislation which will restrict those coming from coronavirus hotspot’s from travelling to Wales.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has refused to impose rules which prohibit those from areas where the infection rate is high from entering low virus rate areas’s.

Mr Drakeford has made two requests to the Prime Minister requesting to impose rules which will mean those from high virus areas in England be prohibited from travelling to Wales, a request which has been denied by Mr Johnson.

The powers set by Mr Drakeford will come into force by the end of the week, unless Boris Johnson takes action sooner.

Speaking at the Plenary today, Mr Drakeford made the announcement, stating if Mr Johnson does not reply to his request by Friday then The Welsh Government will bring in legislation to restrict travel from those in English lockdown areas travelling to Wales.

Mr Drakeford said this was not a case of all those from England being restricted travel to Wales, just hotspot areas.

He said: “Evidence from public health professionals suggests coronavirus is moving from east to west across the UK and across Wales. As a general rule, it is concentrating in urban areas and then spreading to more sparsely populated areas as a result of people travelling.

“Much of Wales in now subject to local restriction measures because levels of the virus have risen and people living in those areas are not able to travel beyond their county boundary without a reasonable excuse. This is designed to prevent the spread of infection within Wales and to other areas of the UK.

“We are preparing to take this action to prevent people who live in areas where there are higher Covid infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales and bringing the virus with them.

“I am determined to keep Wales safe.”

The legislation, which is understood to come into force Friday, October 16 at 6pm, will mean those travelling to Wales from areas of England which are classed as virus hotspot’s will be restricted.

The new legislation also restricts those travelling into Wales from high virus prevalence areas from Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament – Paul Davies MS – has rounded on the First Minister over a ban on people entering Wales from England, and the Labour Party’s inability or unwillingness to publish comprehensive data proving that transmission rates are accelerating due to travel.

Mr Davies took the First Minister to task during Plenary today (October 14), and referred to a statement made by the leader of the Labour Party on September 23 when he said that the Welsh Government was not seeing any spikes at all in infection due to travel and tourism.

Mr Davies said that the people of Wales deserve to have sight of the data that underpins the Welsh Labour-led Government’s position on this matter, so that they can be confident that the Government’s actions are proportionate to the threat of the virus in their area.

Mr Davies also referred to a paper that accompanied the First Minister’s letter to the Prime Minister yesterday, a paper – that was not peer-reviewed – that confirms the data “…does not constitute definitive proof” in favour of a travel ban.

Mr Davies said: “The First Minister and his Government have acted rashly and without examining a range of other factors before a conclusion on whether to impose a travel ban or not is reached, while at the same time seemingly ignoring the fact that transmission rates in relation to travel had already peaked in August and September.

“It is incumbent on the First Minister to explain just why he has chosen to act in this way, and what supporting evidence he and his Ministers have seen to justify a ban and then publish it so it can be properly scrutinised.

“If he cannot or will not, then he must review and rescind this ban immediately.”

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