Tributes paid to Edinburgh granddad and co-worker killed in explosion at former steelworks

Tributes have been paid to an Edinburgh man and his colleague who died following an explosion at a former steelworks in Teesside.

Saturday, 28th September 2019, 12:26 pm
John Mackay, 49, from Edinburgh, who was killed in the blast. Picture: Contributed

John Mackay, 49, from Edinburgh and Tommy Williams, 65, from Warwickshire, were killed in the incident which occurred at the former SSI site in South Bank, Middlesbrough on Thursday, 19 September.

Emergency services were dispatched to the old coke ovens at the site after reports of a major industrial accident.

Fire crews were among those in attendance to deal with a blaze that broke out on the premises at around 2.15pm.

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It is understood that the two men had been operating a cherry picker, working at height on pipes near a gas holder, at the time of the blast.

Police said the men's bodies were recovered on Thursday and that families had been notified and were being supported by specialist family liaison officers.

The family of Edinburgh man John Mackay have paid tribute to the much-loved grandfather.

They 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's family have also released a tribute.

Tommy's wife, Bobbie Williams, commented: “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.”

In an official statement, Superintendent Tariq Ali, of Cleveland Police, 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.”

Floral tributes to the two men have been laid at the scene.