Fears grow for missing person after huge explosion decimated gym

Fears grow missing person is still trapped under rubble after huge explosion decimated South Wales gym as survivor tells of ‘absolute miracle’ people escaped

Fears are growing that a person remains trapped under rubble after a huge explosion at a gym in South Wales last night sparked a massive inferno – as a survivor said someone was ‘looking over us all tonight’ after escaping with her life.

Police have declared a major incident after the blast inside the large multi-storey building housing Mindset Gym at Treforest Industrial Estate in Pontypridd, which is on the brink of collapse.

Three people were treated at the scene before they were discharged, a Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said. Local NHS emergency departments were on ‘high alert’ after the blaze, with people asked not to attend A&E unless ‘absolutely necessary’. 

Though there are no reports of any serious injuries, one person remains unaccounted for, South Wales Police said.

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Posting on Facebook, Bailey Wright from Pontypridd said she had been in the gym when the ‘blast’ struck. ‘Have no words to explain the last few hours, definitely someone looking over us all tonight at the gym!’ she said.

‘Can’t thank staff at Mindset Functional Fitness enough for acting so quickly getting everyone out, remaining calm and informing the emergency services!! A absolute miracle that nobody was hurt. Things could have been so different!’

Police, fire and ambulance services in attendance at a major incident after an ‘explosion’ on an industrial estate on Wednesday

Huge plumes of smoke rising over the building are visible from afar

Pictures appear to show a building on the estate consumed by flames with smoke pouring out

Multiple fire engines, police cars and ambulances have been pictured at the scene

A photo taken from a car shows the building being engulfed by flames and smoke rising

Pictures from the industrial estate have shown a large building consumed by flames

A major incident has been declared, with multiple police cars and ambulances pictured at the scene

Pictures have shown a building consumed by flames, with a column of smoke still visible from a nearby road

Deputy chief fire officer Dewi Rose said: ‘At 7.05pm this (Wednesday) evening South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) responded to repeat calls about an explosion at Mindset Gym, Rizla House, Severn Road on Treforest Industrial Estate, Pontypridd.

‘SWFRS currently has 16 pumping appliances, a number of special appliances and officers in attendance. The latest from the scene is that the building, a large multi-use two-storey commercial premises, is totally alight and at risk of collapse.’

Integer Telecom, a telecommunications provider, said in a Facebook post its building was destroyed in the explosion, adding: ‘All our staff are safe and unharmed and business will resume as normal.’

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said: ‘Due to the ongoing incident at Treforest Industrial Estate this evening, all of our emergency departments are currently on high alert. Please help us by not attending A&E unless absolutely necessary. We need to be able to provide care to those who need it the most.’ 

It later said emergency services were standing down from the high alert.

Jonny Foxhall, 36, the owner of nearby music venue Green Rooms, said: ‘Our front door was flung open so we went out to see what had happened. We could see a smoke cloud and an orange glow from above the treeline quickly followed by flames.’ He added: ‘To feel the shockwave from the explosion is something I’ve never experienced before.’

Local resident Allyson Richards told MailOnline that she and her friend had been sat on the sofa at home when they heard an ‘almighty bang’ which ‘shook the house’. ‘It’s absolutely crazy,’ she said. ‘The windows shook and we ran outside.’

The 56-year-old lives a short walk from the estate, which is across a river and main road from her house. She said her initial thoughts were that a lorry on the road might have hit one of the residents’ cars parked outside.

Pictures taken by local resident Allyson Richards show a fire raging shortly after the explosion at around 7pm (left) and smoke continuing to rise over the estate just after midnight

She continued: ‘The whole house shook, my friend and I just looked at each other like ‘my god what was that’… I was just shocked by the force of the explosion, for it to shake the house it was quite a big explosion. 

‘When I went out that was unbelievable, we didn’t know where the fire was coming from. At first we couldn’t see anything so came back in. Then my neighbour said “you went back too soon, look over there,” and we could see the fire rising high.’ 

‘Our concern was if everyone is alright, especially coming up to Christmas I just hope everyone is okay.’

Ms Richards added that she has ‘never seen anything like it. You hear about stuff like this but we have never have anything like that around here.’

‘The smoke is unbelievable,’ she went on to say, as residents were warned to keep their windows closed. She added at around midnight that the fire is ‘still going now, you can still see the orange haze’. 

Councillor Karl Johnson said he believes the incident happened at Mindset Functional Fitness Ltd, with the front of the building ‘completely destroyed’. Speaking to Sky News, the local representative further added that a nearby car dealership could also be affected.

Pontypridd MP Alex Davies-Jones told the BBC on Wednesday night there were ‘walking wounded;, adding: ‘We will know more in the morning.’

Meanwhile, a woman who works at a tattoo studio at the industrial estate in south Wales said the business has been ‘destroyed’ by the fire. 

Tattoo artist Lucy Artiss, 40, who works at Sixteen Circles in Rizla House on Treforest Industrial Estate, said: ‘What I know is the explosion destroyed the entrance. Our tattoo shop is destroyed as well as the gym. 

‘I left just before it happened so I didn’t witness it,’ she said, adding that her coworker, his client and gym staff ‘all managed to get out of the fire exit’. 

‘It was a lovely place, had a wonderful family feel to it. I’m gutted to have lost that.’ 

Emergency services respond to explosion in Treforest, South Wales. Roads around the industrial estate have been closed

Charlotte Preen, a FAW football coach, told WalesOnline that one of her groups of youngsters was training nearby when they heard a ‘serious explosion’.

‘The building shook, and a lot of moisture came from the ceiling. It was very strong. Some of the players were quite concerned, obviously realising it sounded a bit louder than a firework,’ she said.

‘We’ve been updated that there was some form of serious explosion in the industrial estate. Parents found it really difficult to pick up their children [after the session], unfortunately.’

Heledd Fychan, Welsh Senedd member for South Wales Central, described images and reports of the incident as ‘hugely concerning’.

She urged people to heed emergency services’ warnings to avoid the area. 

South Wales radio station GTFM said earlier in the evening: ‘We have received a report from a listener in Upper Boat of a loud explosion which seems to have triggered a large fire.’

South Wales Police said in a statement just before midnight on Wednesday that emergency services remain at the scene.

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