Investigations after ‘massive’ factory explosion kills worker

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POLICE and Health and Safety Executive investigations were under way yesterday after a blast at industrial premises in Templeborough, Rotherham, killed one worker and left another fighting for life.

Michael Whinfrey, a 42-year-old father-of-three from Wickersley, died in the explosion at the Sterecycle waste treatment plant in Sheffield Road on Tuesday, despite being airlifted to Leeds General Hospital. His friend Peter Davis, aged 51, of Hoyland Common in Barnsley, was taken to the Northern General Hospital where his condition was described yesterday as serious but stable. He is being treated for “potentially life-changing head and body injuries”.

Sterecycle chief executive officer Tom Shields said Mr Whinfrey was “a much-valued colleague, an excellent member of staff and a fine man – our thoughts are with his family and friends”.

The plant will remain closed during the investigations.

The men are understood to have become trapped when a pressure vessel blew up, sending debris on to the road. Passer-by Craig Ball, aged 51, of Tinsley, said: “The explosion was absolutely massive”.