A lightning strike at a recycling plant in Oxfordshire caused a huge gas explosion and local power outages.
Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud bang and seeing a “fireball” lighting up the sky.
Emergency services are attending the scene, but a representative from Severn Trent Green Power told the PA news agency that no one was injured in the incident.
Video and images shared on social media show a pyramid of flames on the horizon, inside a yellow and orange mushroom-like shape.
Severn Trent Green Power confirmed that biogas from a container had ignited at its Cassington AD Facility, near Oxford airport, at about 7.20pm and it was working with emergency services to secure the site.
The facility processes more than 50,000 tons of solid and liquid waste each year.
Ana Cavey, who lives in Somerton, about 15 miles north of Oxford, told Sky News: “We’ve had the most unbelievable thunder and lightning storm ever … it came out of nowhere and the noise was incredible.”
She said her power had been cut off for most of the evening and has only just come back on.
Another witness told the Oxford Mail they saw a “strange pulsing sky out of our windows”.
Power outages were reported in Witney, Burford, Chipping Norton and Milton-under-Wychwood, according to the BBC.
Other witnesses reported seeing “orange lightning” and hearing what sounded like a car crash outside their home. “The sky was glowing for about two minutes and then it just disappeared,” one person wrote on social media.
A statement from Thames Valley police said officers were last night at the scene in Yarnton.
“It is believed that lightning struck gas containers at the site during bad weather this evening, causing a large fire,” it said.
The Met Office had issued a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms in Oxford on Monday evening. –Guardian