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Major incident declared at Llangennech fuel train blaze

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RESIDENTS are being evacuated from their homes after a large diesel freight train caught fire in Carmarthenshire
Dyfed Powys Police said emergency services were dealing with the blaze on the tracks at Llangennech, near Llanelli.

Dramatic images and footage from the scene near Llangennech show flames and smoke towering into the sky.
The fire is burning in three carriages of the train, according to Dyfed-Powys Police.
An evacuation zone has been put in place, with residents taking shelter at both Bryn School and at the Llangennech Community Centre.
British Transport Police added on Twitter: “Emergency services are currently dealing with an incident on the railway near Llangennech, Wales.
“A large diesel freight train has caught fire. A cordon is in place, with roads closed and surrounding homes being evacuated. Please avoid the area.”
Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This is a fast-moving situation, which has been declared a major incident.
“There are a significant number of emergency services personnel at the scene, and an evacuation zone has been put in place.
“Officers are in contact with people within that area asking them to leave their homes, and we urge people to comply with officers’ requests to ensure a swift and efficient evacuation.
“We are working closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.”
Updates will follow as the incident progresses, Mr Evans added.
In an official statement, Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Emergency services are currently dealing with a train fire in Llangennech.

“The incident was reported at just before 11.20pm on Wednesday, August 26, when three carriages of a diesel train were alight.

“Dyfed-Powys Police, British Transport Police and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are currently in attendance, with support from Carmarthenshire Council and Natural Resources Wales.
“Road closures are in place. People are asked to avoid the Llangennech and Hendy areas, and vehicles on the M4 are being asked to continue to Pont Abraham.
“Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This is a fast-moving situation, which has been declared a major incident.
“There are a significant number of emergency services personnel at the scene, and an evacuation zone has been put in place.
“Officers are in contact with people within that area asking them to leave their homes, and we urge people to comply with officers’ requests to ensure a swift and efficient evacuation.
“We are working closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.”
“Updates will follow as the incident progresses.”

LIVE UPDATES:


02:13am UPDATE: Fire service: That three carriages of the train are currently on fire.

02:14am UPDATE: Police: “An evacuation zone has been put in place, with officers contacting people in this area to leave their homes and convene at Bryn School.”

02:14: UPDATE: Police: “Please comply with requests to ensure a swift evacuation process. Several roads are also closed. Please avoid the Llangennech area.”

03:30am UPDATE: Police: “We are receiving a lot of enquiries about the evacuation zone in Llangennech, as people in the area are understandably concerned.”

3:35am UPDATE: Police: “We would like to reassure that officers are calling at homes which need to be evacuated, and a police presence will remain in these streets. If you have not had personal contact from a police officer, please stay indoors and keep your windows closed.

5:00am UPDATE: Herald reporter on scene: “Locomotive has just arrived. Taking 18 carriages 300 meters away from the crash site, as they can’t take them away due to investigation.”

5:52am UPDATE: Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This was a fast-moving situation, which was declared a major incident due to the initial risk of harm to people living in the area.

“The policing response was large scale, with officers across the force retained on duty to ensure we had sufficient resources to carry out the evacuation swiftly, as well as the deployment of a logistics specialist to assist and advise our officers on safely moving people from their homes to the reception points.

“The evacuation no doubt caused a significant amount of disruption for those evacuated in the middle of the night, and I would like to personally thank residents for their response, as well as our frontline officers who swiftly moved hundreds of residents out of their homes.

“My thanks also go to our emergency services colleagues for their response, and partners at the local authority for their assistance in finding and opening Bryn School and Llangennech Community Centre as safe points.

“Officers will continue to be visible in Llangennech, and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a conclusion.”

06:12 UPDATE: Reporter on scene: “Initial reports are that the locomotive involved was a Class 66 locomotive belonging to DB Cargo UK. Unconfirmed source from railtrack said that the driver managed to uncouple and move undamaged carriages to prevent a larger fire.”

06:14 UPDATE: Reporter on scene: “Driver was not injured in the incident.”

06:30: UPDATE: British Transport Police: “Enquiries are underway into the causes of a major incident on the railway in LLangennech, Wales, where a freight train carrying large quantities of diesel caught fire. British Transport Police were called to the scene at 11.29pm on Wednesday 26 August. Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Dyfed-Powys Police are also in attendance. A number of carriges derailed and caught fire. Two employees were on board the freight service. They have since been accounted for and no injuries have been reported. The fire continues and there is still a substantial risk within its immediate vicinity, so our advice remains for people to avoid the area. Our officers will be conducting initial enquiries into the incident and are in the process of securing key witness statements and CCTV.  Once the fire has been extinguished, and the scene is safe to assess and investigate, we’ll be working with the Office of Rail and Road and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch to establish the exact circumstances behind the incident.”

09:31: UPDATE: Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans  said “My thanks also go to our emergency services colleagues for their response, and partners at the local authority for their assistance in finding and opening Bryn School and Llangennech Community Centre as safe points.

“Officers will continue to be visible in Llangennech, and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a conclusion.”

13:06: UPDATE: Fire brigade update Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service remain at the scene of a major incident in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire.
Joint Fire Control received the first call at 11:10pm on Wednesday (Aug 26).
A freight train, carrying large amounts of diesel oil, caught fire and a number of its carriages had also derailed.
British Transport Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, Wales Ambulance Service Trust, Carmarthenshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales have also attended the incident on the railway line near Llangennech.
At the height of the fire, 14 main appliances were deployed to the incident, along with a high-volume pump, a support vehicle, an environmental unit, a water bowser and a foam pad. Firefighters fought the fire from two sectors.
Fire Service operations have since been scaled down to 8 main appliances, a high-volume pump and a foam tender.
As a precaution, roads were shut, and Dyfed-Powys Police evacuated a large number of homes within a radius of the fire.
Area Manager Simon Jenkins, Corporate Head of Response said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to our crews, who have worked tirelessly to fight and contain the fire at a challenging location and in difficult weather circumstances. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their support and patience to our crews, during what is a very difficult time for local residence and business.”  

13:13: UPDATE: Local County Councillor, Gwyneth Thomas, a former A&E staff nurse, was at the scene overnight to offer help if necessary.  “Due to the fear of an explosion, many local residents had to leave their homes,” she said. “I was hugely impressed by how calm they were. Some carried young children and others took their dogs with them. About 50 were escorted to the local Community Centre and another 15 or so to Ysgol y Bryn school. By about 04:30 this morning they were allowed to return home after the fire was brought under control. It’s very fortunate that the accident didn’t happen closer to Llangennech station where there are more homes, and evacuation of residents would have been more difficult.  Ysgol Llangennech was opened up as a ‘Gold Command’ centre for the numerous emergency service.   I can’t speak too highly of the rapid and efficient way in which the emergency services dealt with such a critical situation. The co-ordination in bringing a potentially very dangerous fire under control and ensuring residents’ safety was superb” said Cllr Thomas. She also praised Carmarthenshire’s Chief Executive officer, Wendy Walters, the two headmasters and other council staff for opening the schools and community centre at such short notice. We’ve not yet heard what caused the derailment, but obviously there’ll be a major investigation,” said Cllr Thomas.   

13:33: UPDATE: Carmarthenshire County Council: “We continue to support emergency services and partner organisations to deal with a major incident in Llangennech. Over a hundred residents were evacuated overnight after a freight train carrying diesel derailed and caught fire. People living within an 800m cordon were asked to leave their homes as a precaution, with a rest centre set up by the council at the nearby local primary school. They have since been allowed to return. Roads around the area were closed for several hours overnight, however only one remains closed – the B4279 Pontarddulais Road, near the Talyclun junction, at Llangennech. British Transport Police are leading the emergency response to the incident, with Dyfed-Powys Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Natural Resources Wales, Carmarthenshire County Council and other partner agencies working alongside them. Natural Resources Wales has confirmed it will assess the impact of the diesel spill as soon as it is safe to do so. Further information will be made available throughout the day. Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “I would like to thank all emergency services, including our officers, for their swift response to this major incident. I thank all residents who have been affected and who co-operated with requests in what was a frightening situation. Thanks also to staff at Llangennech and Bryn primary schools that opened up to support the emergency response. We will continue to work with emergency services and partners to deal with the aftermath of this incident for as long as is necessary.”


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Pubs closed and fined for breaching Covid-19 rules

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TWO licensed premises in Carmarthenshire have been handed £1,000 fines for staying open beyond the current 10.20pm closing time.

The operators of the Coopers Arms in Betws and Betws RFC were issued with the fixed penalty notices for breaching the current Covid-19 regulations.

Around 200 licensed venues have been visited by Carmarthenshire County Council officers in the last fortnight to check for compliance with regulations and to offer necessary advice.

As well as issuing two FPNs, the council has had to take action to close three premises where there were significant shortfalls in  measures to ensure the safety of their customers.

They were the Biddulph Arms in New Street, Llanelli; the Greenfield Inn, Llanelli, and the Wheaten Sheaf in Abergwili.

They will now have to demonstrate a range of improvements before being allowed to re-open.

Several other premises have been served improvement notices, and will be re-visited, but the vast majority of businesses are operating well and have been commended for their efforts.

Council officers will continue making proactive visits to licensed and business premises, particularly offering support in light of new restrictions on the hospitality industry coming into force in Wales at 6pm on Friday, December 4.

The new regulations will mean pubs, restaurants and cafes cannot serve alcohol and will have to close to customers by 6pm, only being permitted to stay open later for takeaways of food or non-alcoholic drinks.

Cinemas, bowling alleys, bingo halls, museums and galleries must also close from Friday.

Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for public protection and enforcement, said: “This is an exceptionally difficult time for our hospitality industry, in particular in light of the new regulations that come into force on Friday.

“Our officers have been working incredibly hard to support the industry and I want to thank the majority of businesses for making every effort to look after their customers and staff.

“That said, it has been disappointing to see a small number either recklessly or purposely ignoring the rules and by doing so, putting their customers at risk.

“We have made it very clear from the start that where we see premises falling significantly short of the standards, and where there are premises that are not operating within the rules, we will not hesitate to take action – make no mistake about it.

“As well as ensuring customers can meet and socialise safely, we must also ensure a level playing field for all businesses – most of which are trying hard to meet the regulations.”

There are serious concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in Carmarthenshire, with local hospitals and care homes now heavily impacted.

Welsh Government regulations make it clear that social gatherings should be minimised.

Hospitality venues, including licensed premises such as pubs, clubs and restaurants, must ensure that customers can safely social distance at all times and strict cleansing routines must be in place.

People can meet in maximum groups of four, but if they are from different households every effort should be made to support social distancing.

Table service must be provided, with no customers allowed to congregate around the bar. Customers must remain seated, and wear a face covering at all times other than when they are seated.

Contact details of all customers must be checked and recorded as part of Test, Trace, Protect procedures.

Any business owner or landlord unsure of the rules is urged to check they know and understand the regulations – they are available online at www.gov.wales.

Further information, advice about steps to take and free downloadable resources are available on www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales where businesses can also sign up to receive regular business news updates.

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Jail for man who live streamed himself speeding and dangerous driving

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A MAN who live streamed himself on Facebook while speeding and driving dangerously has been jailed.

Justin Dean Jones, of Panteg in Llanelli, filmed himself driving at grossly excessive speeds and racing other cars on a number of occasions over the summer.

He then posted the videos to Facebook, which were sent to the Go Safe Road Harm and Casualty Reduction Enquiry Team by a concerned member of the public.

Dyfed-Powys Police PC Roger Jones investigated three videos filmed between July 2 and July 14, which clearly showing Jones using his mobile phone to film himself at the wheel.

The footage showed him speeding in a Vauxhall Astra and a BMW X5 in a 30mph zone on Glyncoed Road, Llandafen Road and Gelli Road in Llanelli, and reaching speeds of up to 120mph on the A484 Loughor link road, while overtaking other drivers.

In one video, the 30-year-old was seen overtaking other vehicles on pedestrian crossings in broad daylight, putting road users at a significant risk of harm.

Jones, who was holding the phone in one hand while driving, can be heard on the videos boasting about the performance of the vehicle.

As members of Road Safety Support (RSS), Go Safe sought the help of Steve Callaghan, the not-for-profit company’s forensic video analyst, to examine the footage.

Mr Callaghan conducted a thorough review of the evidence and was able to calculate the exact speeds that were driven in the incidents.

Jones was charged with three counts of dangerous driving, and was sentenced to 25 months in prison. He was also disqualified from driving for 62 months.

An anti-social behaviour destruction order has also been granted for the Astra and the BMW and is pending.

Sergeant Ian Price, of Go Safe, said: “The sentence of just over two years in prison and a five year ban from driving shows the high risk he poses to other road users.

“It is a clear message that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and ensures the removal of a dangerous driver from society and we hope that it gives him enough time to reflect on his actions in prison.

“We would like to thank Road Safety Support for helping us in this matter and ensuring this individual is no longer a danger to society over the next two years.”

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Police appeal following incident outside Bryn Primary School

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE are appealing for information on an incident outside Bryn Primary School.

It is believed a motorcyclist threw an egg through the back window of a police Go Safe van, which narrowly missed the officer within the vehicle.

The incident happened on Thursday November 26 at approximately 9.10am.

A police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating an incident which occurred at 9.10am on Thursday 26th November 2020 in Llanelli.

“A casualty reduction officer in a Go Safe van was parked outside the Bryn Primary School observing the speed of vehicles travelling through the 20mph zone at a time when children were being dropped off.

“A motorcyclist has ridden from the nearby housing estate towards the rear of the van and thrown an egg through the open rear window, narrowly missing the officer inside. The motorcyclist has carried on towards the Bryn, travelling on the wrong side of the road causing oncoming traffic to take evasive action.

“Police are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time and saw the incident to come forward. They would especially like to hear from anyone who was driving in the area and has a dashcam in their vehicle which may have footage of the incident or the motorcycle on it.  

“Anyone who has information which could help the investigation can contact Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. 

“If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”

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