Crews tackle blaze at major oil refinery in Cheshire

Stanlow refinery fire Image copyright @thomodavie
Image caption Smoke and flames from the Stanlow oil refinery fire could be seen eight miles (13km) away

Hundreds of staff were evacuated from a Cheshire oil refinery after a large fire broke out.

Six fire engines were called to the Stanlow plant in Ellesmere Port at 14:16 BST to tackle a blaze inside a chemical manufacturing unit.

Smoke and flames were visible from as far as eight miles (13km) away, according to eye witnesses.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) said all staff were accounted for and the fire had been "fully extinguished".

A spokesman said the the incident, which caused a large plume of smoke, was confined to the manufacturing area of the site and did not affect the refinery.

"All staff within the affected area were evacuated as a precaution and there were no reports of any injuries."

Image copyright Phil Owen
Image caption The fire broke out in a chemical manufacturing plant, according to Essar Oil UK

Essar Oil UK employs more than 900 staff and 500 contractors at the refinery, which supplies 16% of all petrol and diesel in the UK.

In a statement, the company said the fire started in a chemical plant close to the Manchester Ship Canal.

"Both Stanlow's own site Emergency Services Team and the Cheshire County Fire Service attended to deal with the incident. All personnel at the unit were quickly accounted for. The fire has now been extinguished.

"Operations and production of fuels and other products from Stanlow Refinery have not been affected."

Richard Reeves from Cheshire Police said: "We understand that this incident may have caused alarm to the local community and we would like to reassure people that it has not affected the wider area and there are not believed to be any risks to the public."

The Environment Agency said it was aware of the incident and would work with Essar to minimise any environmental damage.

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