A building collapse at Didcot A Power Station in Oxfordshire has left one worker dead, 50 people treated on site for dust inhalation and five people are still being treated in hospital after the incident yesterday.

The search for three people who are still unaccounted for is ongoing, with fire officers stating that sniffer dogs have detected ‘some signs of life’ at the scene. Oxfordshire’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Simon Furlong has said that the remainder of the building is very unstable which is hampering the search and the safety of the emergency services conducting the rescue operation is the priority.

The power plant was decommissioned in 2013 and demolition was expected to be completed by the end of the year. Workers were preparing two boilers for demolition when the building collapsed on top of them. The incident comes just 16 months after a major fire in a cooling tower at Didcot B Power Station.

The fire service has advised people in the area to stay indoors and keep all windows and door shuts due to dust from the collapse, although they have stated that there were no hazardous materials in the building.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation has been launched.

Samantha Hemsley, national head of the serious injury team at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “News is still arriving about this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the families and friends of the deceased worker, those who have been injured and those who are still missing.

“The priority is for the rescue operation to continue, but this must happen extremely carefully as the site is still unstable and any further casualties must be avoided.

“There will need to be a thorough investigation by the HSE to establish the cause of this incident and to ensure that the remainder of the power station is demolished safely and future incidents avoided. We are relieved and trust that it is right that there were no hazardous materials in the building otherwise we would be concerned about toxic substances, such as asbestos, in the dust.”

Unite the Union, for whom Thompsons act, has set up a free helpline to offer support to individuals affected by this incident call 0800 0 224 224 or 0300 123 1230 from a mobile.