Work suspended at former steelworks site as two die following explosion

Two men have lost their lives following reports of an explosion at a steelworks site in Middlesbrough.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 6:22 pm
Emergency services were called to the scene on Thursday. Picture: Google Maps.
Emergency services were called to the scene on Thursday. Picture: Google Maps.

Police officers, paramedics and firefighters were called to the former SSI site at Trunk Road, Grangetown at 2.15pm on Thursday, September 19 to reports of a fire, with witnesses saying they heard an explosion nearby.

Cleveland Police confirmed that there were two casulaties as a result of the incident and the force announced on Friday, September 20 that the two injured men have died.

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Incident Commander Detective Superintendent Tariq Ali said: “We can now confirm that there have sadly been two fatalities as a result of the incident at the former SSI site in South Bank yesterday.

“The families of those two men have been informed and our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time.”

The Health and Safety Executive has also been informed of the fire, Cleveland Police said.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said in a statement on Friday: "It is impossible to imagine the pain and distress which this news will have brought the loved ones of those involved.

“All of the staff who work at the South Tees Development Corporation site are deeply shocked and sorry for this loss.

"All works on site have been suspended while investigations continue. The team is working with the emergency services and the Health and Safety Executive, who will continue to have an ongoing presence on site."

SSI purchased the site in February 2011 but went into liquidation in October 2015.

The steelworks stopped production after 98 years later that month when it was announced there was no realistic prospect of prospective buyers taking it off the Thai owners.

Earlier this year, a deal was agreed to transfer half the developable land on the former steelworks to the South Tees Development Corporation, an enterprise promoting economic development in the Tees Valley.