Two seriously injured in explosion

EMERGENCY services are dealing with a major explosion which ripped through a recycling plant in Sheffield today - leaving two people seriously injured.

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South Yorkshire Fire Service said the casualties, who have not yet been named, are believed to have been trapped after a pressure vessel exploded at Sterecycle on Sheffield Road, Tinsley.

The explosion was reported to South Yorkshire Police at 2.40pm and when emergency services arrived two people were trapped in the depot.

Firefighters were brought in to free them and paramedics and the air ambulance were also scrambled to the scene.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "The call came in at 2.40pm to report a possible explosion at Sterecycle - a recycling business.

"It appears a pressure vessel has exploded and two people have been badly injured.

"There are no other reported injuries at this stage.

"All emergency services are at the scene, including the air ambulance."

Sterecycle sterilises household waste before recycling.

The high-tech plant is based on the site of a former British Steel works in Rotherham.

In 2009 it announced plans to invest 10 million in the plant to increase its capacity, enabling it to process 200,000 tonnes of waste a year – the amount of waste produced by a town of 400,000 people.

Unsorted household and commercial waste is sterilised by being sealed into giant ovens, called autoclaves. Pressure inside the autoclaves is increased and steam is pumped in while the ovens are rotated.

Organic waste is broken down into a fibre which has a number of uses including generating renewable energy, land restoration and even for making cardboard boxes.

Sterilised non-organic waste is easily separated from the fibre and can then be sent for recycling and the volume of the waste is reduced by anything up to 70 per cent.

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