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Pair who died in explosion at former steelworks named

John Mackay, 49, and Tommy Williams, 65, were both killed during the incident in Redcar on September 19.

The scene of a large blast which killed two workers at a former coke works in South Bank, Teesside (Tom Wilkinson/PA)
The scene of a large blast which killed two workers at a former coke works in South Bank, Teesside (Tom Wilkinson/PA)

By Henry Clare, PA

Two men who died following an explosion at the site of a former steelworks in Teesside have been named.

John Mackay, 49, from Edinburgh, and Tommy Williams, 65, from Warwickshire, were both killed during the incident at the ex-SSI site in South Bank, Redcar, on September 19, Cleveland Police said.

Fire crews had attended the scene after a blaze broke out on the premises, part of the South Tees Development Corporation area, at around 2.15pm that day.

It is believed that the two workers have been on a cherry-picker, working at a height, at the time of the blast.

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John Mackay (Cleveland Police/PA)

At the time, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It is impossible to imagine the pain and distress which this news will have brought the loved ones of those involved.

“All of the staff who work at the South Tees Development Corporation site are deeply shocked and sorry for this loss.”

The family of Mr Mackay said in a statement that was released by Cleveland Police on Saturday: “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.”

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Tommy Williams (Cleveland Police/PA)

Mr Williams’s 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.”

Superintendent Tariq Ali said: “Both Tommy and John’s family and friends are dealing with the devastation of losing them and I would ask that people respect their privacy at this extremely difficult time.

“They are being supported by specialist family liaison officers.”

SSI purchased the site in February 2011 but went into liquidation in October 2015.

The steelworks stopped production after 98 years later that month when it was announced there was no realistic prospect of prospective buyers taking it off the Thai owners.

Earlier this year, a deal was agreed to transfer half the land capable of development on the former steelworks to the South Tees Development Corporation, an enterprise promoting economic development in the Tees Valley.

PA

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