Tees

Redcar SSI: Tributes paid to men killed in explosion

Tommy Williams and John Mackay Image copyright Family photos
Image caption Tommy Williams and John Mackay were "much-loved" fathers and grandfathers

Tributes have been paid to two men who died in an explosion at a former steelworks site.

John Mackay, 49, from Edinburgh, and Tommy Williams, 65, from Warwickshire, died at the SSI site in South Bank, Middlesbrough, on 19 September.

It is believed they were inside a cherry picker at a height, working on pipes near a gas holder at the time.

The site was evacuated and a police cordon was put in place after flames were seen coming from the blast area.

Mr Mackay's family said: "John was much loved by his wife, parents, sisters, children, step children and grandchildren and will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

"We are immensely grateful for the support we have received in the past week and take comfort in hearing how popular a man John was."

Mr Williams' wife Bobbie, said: "Tommy was a dearly-loved husband, father and grandfather who will be desperately missed.

"I would like to send all my gratitude and thanks to every member of the team that has been involved. I cannot thank you all enough."

Image caption Fire crews were called to the old coke ovens at the SSI site in South Bank on 19 September

The South Bank coke ovens were part of the SSI complex, which had offices and a blast furnace in nearby Redcar.

The steelworks announced its closure in 2015 when its Thai-based owners went into liquidation and 2,200 workers lost their jobs.

In January, a deal was agreed to transfer more than half of the developable land at the former Redcar Steelworks to the South Tees Development Corporation.

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