Massive Chemical Plant Explosion Kills 1, Injures Dozens Of Others

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Caroline Kucera Contributor
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An explosion rocked a German industrial park in the western city of Leverkusen early Tuesday, leaving one dead and dozens injured. 

The explosion occurred at the Chempark chemical site run by Currenta, which is one of the largest chemical parks in Europe, and left one person killed, scores injured and four missing, according to CNN. More than 30 companies operate at the site including Covestro, Bayer, and Laxness, the outlet noted.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident and the death of an employee,” Chempark chief Lars Friedrich said in a translated tweet from the company’s official account. “Our special condolences go out particularly to the relatives, but also to the colleagues who have worked with him.”

The tweet noted that the rescue mission for the unaccounted for employees “continues at full speed.”

Reports vary on the exact number of people injured due to the explosion. However, according to Reuters, police stated that 31 people were injured. Five of the employees were injured seriously enough to require intensive care, Reuters noted.

Friedrich said it is unclear what caused the explosion, but a fuel depot with solvents was ignited, according to Reuters. It took emergency services three hours to extinguish the flames, causing a thick layer of smoke to blanket Leverkusen, the outlet reported.

The area surrounding the site has reportedly been sealed off and major highways surrounding the plant are currently closed. Citizens were also warned of “extreme danger” on a German civil protection agency’s app.

“This is a tragic moment for the city of Leverkusen,” said Leverkusen mayor Uwe Richrath, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Massive Chemical Plant Explosion Rocks Small Town, Residents Evacuated)

The German Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance encourages nearby residents to remain indoors with their doors and windows closed due to the possibility of toxic gasses in the airCurrenta also noted that residents should not use air conditioning systems until the air quality is tested and cleared.