The terminal stores various grades of petroleum-based fuel for cars and airplanes, and is used by a variety of oil companies. It normally loads about 400 tanker trunks a day, and has pipelines connecting to Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Though the terminal is the country’s fifth largest, no serious disruption to gasoline supplies is expected as emergency plans to draw from other depots kick in. Fire chiefs said they had extinguished a fire at a nearby warehouse caused by the explosion, but were waiting to assemble enough equipment and foam from nearby districts before tackling the main blazewhich may not be controllable until it burns itself out. They do not expect the blaze to spread beyond the depot; the main danger to people in the area comes from the vast amounts of smoke being generated.
John Reid, the British defense secretary, said there was no reason to suspect anything other than an accident. British security sources confirmed to TIME that they had no reason to believe terrorism or sabotage were involved, but planned to keep an open mind as the blast is investigated.