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Two killed in Cardiff steelworks explosion

Two men were killed and five others injured following an explosion at Celsa steelworks in the Splott area, near Cardiff Bay, which happened at 10:30am on Wednesday morning.

The men who lost their lives were named as Peter O’Brien, 51, and Mark Sim, 41.

Workers were reported to have heard a “huge explosion”, as people near the steelworks saw “black smoke billowing over the top of buildings”.

Mr O’Brien, who left behind a wife and six children, had begun working at Celsa when he was 16, having joined as an apprentice after leaving school with a single A-Level. He also held positions at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant and Kingsmill Bakery before returning to Celsa, where he reportedly “loved life at the works”.

He was named Welsh Apprentice of the Year at the age of 19, and worked as an engineer at the steelworks.

Mr O’Brien was described by his brother, Kevin, as: “the true embodiment of a rock”. He added: “My brother was a family man”.

Mark Sim, originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, left behind a wife, a son and a daughter.

Out of the five men injured, four were taken to hospital and three have since been discharged.

In a statement, chief executive of Celsa UK, Luis Sanz, said: [Celsa was] incredibly grateful to the local community for their support at such a difficult time”. He added: “In memory of our colleagues, we will strive to avoid another day like this”.

Wednesday’s explosion was not an isolated incident, however, with four other serious accidents having occurred over the last nine years.

These incidents caused serious injuries to several workers, including loss of toes and fingers, an electric shock and three deaths at the steelworks since 2006.

This resulted in Celsa being prosecuted a number of times, and rewarding significant amounts of compensation to those affected.

Celsa official are working with trade unions to support the families left behind by Mr O’Brien and Mr Sim.

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