10 Years Since Buncefield Explosion

11 December 2015, 07:49 | Updated: 11 December 2015, 08:13

Today marks 10 years on from the Buncefield explosion at the oil depot in Hemel Hempstead - measuring 2.4 on the Richter scale.

Just after 6am in 2005 a vapour cloud from an overflowing petrol tank ignited, exploding and setting off more blasts across 20 large storage tanks at the site.

Nicky Mannix Hall told Heart her memories of being woken up by the explosion in Luton:



A major incident was declared within ten minutes of the explosion with emergency services trying to find out what happened.

The M1 was closed as a smoke cloud visible from space started to spread.

22 fire services across the UK sent crews to deal with the three day blaze that saw flames climb hundreds of feet high.

Hertfordshire firefighter Kevin Neil was one of the first dispatched from the Hemel Hempstead fire station. He reminisces with Heart about what happened immediately after the explosion:



The force of the explosion blew out thousands of windows and doors in homes, in schools and in offices nearby.

If it hadn't been 6am on a sleepy Sunday morning it could have caused many injuries and even deaths as Beverley Platten school secretary at Leverstock Green Primary in Hemel tells Heart:



Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning fought hard in the aftermath of the explosion to support his constituents, and get them the compensation they deserved.

Five companies including Total UK and Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency and were fined.

Hear Mike's reflections on that morning, and the battle he faced as he tried support the 370 businesses and 3,500 jobs which were affected by the explosion: