South West Wales

Memorial tributes to four Pembroke refinery blast workers

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Media captionThe bronze sculpture was dedicated in Milford Haven, while a stone bench memorial will be dedicated in Pembroke on Wednesday

A memorial bench is being unveiled for four workers who died in an explosion at the former Chevron oil refinery after the dedication of a sculpture.

Julie Schmitz, 54, of Pembroke, Dennis Riley, 52, Robert Broome, 48, and Andrew Jenkins, 33, who were all from Milford Haven, died in June 2011 at the Pembroke plant.

The bronze sculpture was dedicated in Milford Haven on Tuesday.

A stone bench memorial will be dedicated in Pembroke on Wednesday.

The workers all died at the former Chevron site when a storage tank exploded.

They were part of the refinery's workforce but employed by contracting companies, said Chevron.

Stainless steel

Another person was also seriously injured.

First Minister Carwyn Jones and the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, attended the dedication in Milford Haven.

The sculpture is fashioned in a slender shape of bronze and stainless steel. The second memorial, the stone bench, has been placed at Mill Pond Walk, below Pembroke's castle.

Both memorials are being installed on land donated by Pembrokeshire council and have been commissioned and donated by Chevron.

The Milford Haven sculpture also remembers David Sterlini who died in an incident at the oil refinery in Pembroke in 1989.

'Essential trade'

Chairman of Pembrokeshire council Arwyn Williams said: "The people of Pembrokeshire are proud of their history in sustaining vital industries.

"The Rath at Milford Haven, already the site of a statue in tribute to the fishermen who sailed from these waters, is now joined by a poignant reminder of another of the waterway's core industries.

"These pieces are in tribute to the workforce of the entire Pembrokeshire energy industry and we join with the Archbishop of Wales and the first minister in this opportunity to pay tribute to all who have served and continue to serve this essential trade."

Image caption L-R: Julie Schmitz, Dennis Riley, Robert Broome and Andrew Jenkins all died at the refinery

All the victims of the June 2011 explosion had children or grown-up families. Ms Jones was a mother of one and grandmother, Mr Broome was a father-of-seven, while Mr Jenkins had young twins and Mr Riley was a grandfather.

At the time of the blast, the refinery was operated by Chevron, although a deal had already been agreed to sell the plant to Valero.

In February last year, Dyfed-Powys Police said two people had been questioned over potential manslaughter offences in connection with the explosion.

In a statement on Tuesday, a force spokesperson said progress had been made by the investigation team.

"The joint police and Health and Safety Executive investigation team set up immediately following the explosion remains dedicated to establishing the cause," said the spokesperson.

"The inquiry is complex but significant progress has been made by the investigation team, together with support from specialist investigators, lawyers and staff from the HSE laboratory.

"Dyfed-Powys Police family liaison officers remain deployed in support of the four bereaved and the survivor's families."

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