Apparently it was Billingham area. That's my town. That makes it a LOT closer than the chemical factory.
They're calling it a massive explosion. There were two flashes and then an almighty bang and then a flame that came up to above the rooftops. They've got an eyewitness talking on the radio by phone. And there's a helicopter there. The radio's trying to contact the police and firecrew to see what's going on.
Staying up 'til I know what's up I think.
EDIT Our local radio - Click "listen lve" to follow along if you want to listen with me.
It amuses me that between the "What the hell just happened?" updates they're still just... playing music. I think that's the sign the station too is scrabbling trying to work out what's up.
They're refusing to say anything until they've spoken to police. They keep saying "Well, it's looking... well, we don't want to say anything until we've spoken to police but it's uh... looking... okay.". That's a word for word quote there. I think it translates to "We don't think we're going to die".
Update 2 *dies* Police are saying that... there has been a major explosion. WELL, WE KNEW THAT.
Apparently we get more specific updates in the next 15 minutes.
Update 3 Okay, my first guess was correct. It was at the Billingham ICI plant. (Which normally no-one notices because it DOESN'T DO explosions) and some type of chemical explosion. Police and firecrews are on the scene and they think we're "probably" safe.
Update 4 ...there's a hellicopter somewhere. With a spotlight. I thought I was halluccinating at first but somewhere near me there is a helicopter with a spotlight because I heard it and saw the light. I don't get it. I mean, what are they LOOKING for? We're talking light on MY ROAD.
The factory's over there. If they're searching this far, they're searching for... people I guess?
Update 5 "I heard this massive explosion so I came outside to take a look"
NO! ARE YOU INSANE? STUPID MAN!
For Christ's sake people, a good photo is really not worth dying for!
Update 6 Okay, it's made it onto the BBC News website now. We do have more news - it looks like the ammonia plant had a massive explosion, one person onsite treated for shock, no offsite implications. We've now been told to shut windows. What and that only took an hour?
Apparently Sky News now has a photo (thank you comments person!) That means it's very possibly going to hit the international news if they're paying attention. Anyone doing this, do me a favour - point anyone catching the news and worrying I'm dead or something this way.
Heading to bed now I think. It looks like we're surviving.