Oxfordshire lightning gas plant fireball causes £250k damage

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Media captionA food waste plant containing methane gas was struck by lightning

A huge methane gas fireball ignited by a lightning strike at a food waste plant has caused £250,000 of damage, the site's management has said.

The Agrivert site at Benson, near Wallingford, Oxfordshire, was struck at about 17:20 BST on Thursday.

Commercial manager Harry Waters said lightning ignited gas stored in a waste digester, causing a fire which burned for 20 minutes and destroyed the roof.

He said staff were "very surprised" by the explosion but no one was injured.

Emma Shepperd captured a video of the fireball from her home, while trying to film the storm.

'Quite dramatic'

Mr Waters said he hoped to have a replacement roof installed before the end of the month.

He said: "[Staff] are well trained, did exactly what they were supposed to do, and isolated the plant and made it safe.

"We were back up and running within an hour. It looks quite dramatic in the video but caused a surprisingly small amount of damage."

Mr Waters said the storm overwhelmed the lightning protection systems at the site, which processes local food waste into energy from methane gas.

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