Update as regards incident at Osney Mead in West Oxford
Fire crews from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service and Urban Search and Rescue specialists from Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue remain at the scene of Tuesday’s incident at Osney Mead in West Oxford today.
UPDATE PROVIDED AT 4:30PM ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16
They form part of a multi-agency team including Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council’s Emergency Planning Unit and A2Dominion Housing and Rapid Response Team.
In total sixty personnel are currently working on scene from all of the agencies.
Today’s focus for firefighters is on making buildings in the area safe so that the responding emergency services can undertake the job of removing rubble safely. This is being carried out using Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s hydraulic platform and the Urban Search and Rescue specialist equipment to remove lose brickwork and propping unsafe walls.
Once these safety measures are in place a police dog will carry out a search of the debris pile and then firefighters will start to remove the rubble so a search can be undertaken to confirm if anybody is under the rubble.
This will then allow detectives, fire investigators and crime scene investigators to determine the cause of the incident.
Meanwhile, 40 households were displaced from their homes as a result of the explosion. At this stage, 19 are still unable to return however we expect some of these to be able to move back over the next few days.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Emergency Planning team is currently working with A2Dominion to provide alternative accommodation for those who need it, transport and emergency supplies.
Incident Commander Julian Green said: “Clearly the sequence of events has to be to make the buildings safe first before the removal of rubble begins, so as to ensure safety of personnel. We expecting to start removing rubble later today, working with fire and police investigators alongside to determine the cause of the explosion.”
Thames Valley Police update
Meanwhile Thames Valley Police is appealing for the public’s help in tracing a missing man following the incident at Osney Mead on Tuesday.
More information on this is available here