Total UK admits charges in huge 2005 oil fire

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2009 10:19 AM

Oil company Total UK has pleaded guilty to three charges stemming from a massive oil depot fire in 2005, the biggest conflagration in Europe since World War II.

Friday's plea involved two charges under the Health and Safety Act and one of polluting water stemming from the explosion and fire at the Buncefield oil depot north of London on Dec. 11, 2005.

Forty-three people were injured and some 2,000 nearby residents were evacuated, but no one was killed.

Four other companies pleaded not guilty to health and safety violations: Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd., British Pipeline Agency Ltd., TAV Engineering Ltd. and Motherwell Control Systems 2003 Ltd.

Those companies face trial next year, and Total won't be sentenced until that trial is over.