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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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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Covid alert level lowered for whole of UK

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THE COVID alert level for all four nations of the United Kingdom has been lowered to alert level 4.

The decision comes following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in light of the most recent data.

In recent weeks, the R-rate and the number of covid cases has been on the decline.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations.

“The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

Under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 restrictions, schools and colleges, places of worship, community centres, playgrounds and public parks are among those that can be opened.

Theatres, entertainment venues, leisure facilities and outdoor visitors attractions are among the places that must remain close while the country is in Alert Level 4.

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Wife completes 50-mile running challenge to raise money for charity after husband suffers stroke

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A 39-YEAR-OLD woman from Pwll, Llanelli, has raised over £8,000 for the Stroke Association, after she completed a 50-mile running challenge.

Katie Fry’s husband Dale, 36, had a major stroke in July last year, in the middle of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and she wants to raise awareness of stroke and how it can happen at any age and at any time.
 
Dale did not have any symptoms of a stroke, he went to work, played with his children and went for a run but had a headache in the evening so went to bed, when he woke up in the early hours of the next morning he had left sided weakness, headaches and slurred speech.

Katie acted FAST and Dale was admitted to hospital for tests where it was found that Dale had a severe stroke so he was airlifted to Bristol for a thrombectomy, 24 hours later he had life saving brain surgery and remained in Intensive care for days, Dale was repatriated back to the stroke ward in PPH where he remained before being transferred to Neath Port Talbot hospital for his rehabilitation in September.

Dale is transferring to the BIRT (Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust) early March where he will continue his rehab for 12 weeks.
 
Katie said: “Dale was fit and well, the stroke came out of nowhere and it was really unexpected. It has been a hard six months as Dale has remained in hospital for his rehabilitation but due to Covid-19 we have been unable to visit him much at all.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on Dale’s recovery as resources have been limited and Dale is now on a ward with recovering Covid-19 patients and had limited interaction and support. We communicate via video calls but it’s not the same, this has had a huge impact on Dale’s mental wellbeing.’
 
Katie and Dale have been married for 10 years and have two young children, “I am so proud of my husband as he is working so hard with his rehabilitation and I love to see the videos of him getting a step closer in his recovery. Dale inspires me every day and I hope he and we as a family can inspire other families going through the same journey as us.”
 
Katie decided to fundraise for the Stroke Association with a 50 mile running challenge as she was determined to do something positive, “It has been a release for me to get out running. It was a way of raising awareness for the charity but also to help me navigate through this difficult time. I have two young children so it has been a very stressful time with home-schooling as well as helping Dale with his recovery. I can’t thank my friends and family enough for their help and support and for everyone who has donated.”
 
Katie Chappelle, Associate Director, Wales at the Stroke Association said:
“Thank you to Katie for raising an amazing £8000.00. These are vital funds as with the support of people like Katie we can help more stroke survivors and their families as they look to rebuild their lives.

“A stroke can happen to anyone at any time and it turns lives upside down as it has with Dale and his family.”

To sponsor Katie or keep up to date with Dale’s progress please visit: https://www.facebook.com/donate/740852340189430/

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