Four killed in Glasgow plastics factory blast

GLASGOW, Scotland -- An explosion ripped through a plastics factory in Glasgow on Tuesday, killing four people, injuring dozens and leaving an unknown number buried in the rubble, police and the fire brigade said. The midday blast at Stockline Plastics wrecked much of the building and left 40 people injured, 16 seriously, according to local fire officials.

Three people were pronounced dead at the scene and a woman died in the city's Western Infirmary, they said. Strathclyde firemaster Brian Sweeney said six injured people had been pulled out of the collapsed building and a reporter saw a seventh person brought out alive later.

It was not clear how many more remained buried, but rescuers were in voice contact with some of those trapped, Sweeney said.

The task for the rescuers was "very arduous, very dangerous, and very difficult," he said.

Sweeney said emergency services were concentrating their efforts on two pockets where survivors were still trapped.

"We're focusing on those people who are currently alive," he said. "They're in various states of ability to talk. Some are injured, some are badly injured, some are in shock, some will be traumatized and so we're having as much decent dialogue as we can with them, trying to comfort and reassure them and offer support under what must be very traumatic circumstances."

About six rescue teams were working in different areas of the building.

As many as 200 firefighters from around the country were involved in the rescue. Some were using thermal-imaging cameras and heat-seeking equipment.

Sweeney said rescuers were having to work slowly to avoid injuring those trapped, and he estimated the rescue operation could take as long as 48 hours.

David Andrews, 50, a worker who escaped uninjured, said he was working on the opposite side of the building from the part that came down, and ran out when he heard a huge bang.

"I was trying to help pull people from the rubble. All my colleagues were lying on the ground with cuts and bruises to their heads and broken arms," he said. "The whole lot just came down on top of them."