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Explosion in northeastern Spain triggers chemical emergency

1 dead, 9 hurt in blast

UPDATE: 2:25 p.m.

A massive explosion at a petrochemical plant in northeastern Spain on Tuesday killed one person and injured at least nine others, three seriously, regional authorities said.

A press spokesman for the port city of Tarragona, where the plant is located, said a preliminary investigation indicated the force of the blast killed an individual in a nearby neighbourhood.

The spokesman said he had no further details. 

The regional fire service tweeted that the man had died in a building affected by the blast. They said one other person was injured in the building.

The interior minister of Spain's Catalonia region said eight workers at the factory were injured, three seriously, and one person remained missing.

Emergency services said that two of the injured were being treated for major burns.

The civil protection agency in the Catalonia region called the blast a “chemical accident” and initially warned people in parts of the city of just over 130,000 and in nearby towns to refrain from going outside as preventive measures.

The confinement measures were lifted and two roads that had been cordoned off were reopened some three hours after the evening blast.

Interior department chief Miquel Buch tweeted that the fire was not toxic but he advised residents to remain inside.


UPDATE: 11:25 a.m.

A massive explosion at a petrochemical plant in northeastern Spain burned four people Tuesday.

A tweet by emergency services for the Catalonia region called the blast in the port city of Tarragona a “chemical accident.”

The services said four people were reported as having been injured and were being treated for major burns.

The service advised residents in parts of the city of 800,000 and in nearby towns to close their windows and to refrain from going outside as preventive measures.

The blast took place at the premises of Iqoxe, according to a woman who answered the phone at the company and who quickly hung up the phone without giving her name.

According to the company's website, Iqoxe is Spain's sole producer of ethylene oxide, a chemical compound used for making detergents, solvents and other products, as well as glycol, one of the main raw materials in the production of plastics.


UPDATE: 11:10 a.m.

A massive explosion took place at an industrial zone for chemicals in northeastern Spain on Tuesday, and the regional emergency services agency warned people nearby not to go outside.

The explosion led to a fire, the regional emergency service said, while fire departments sent 10 brigades to the area.

Tarragona is located 115 kilometres southwest of Barcelona, the regional capital of Spain's Catalonia region.

Since 2015, the city has housed a 1,200-hectare “chemical hub,” ChemMed, that was described as the largest of its kind in southern Europe.


UPDATE: 10:30 a.m.

Emergency services say a chemical emergency alert has been activated in northeastern Spain following a big explosion in an industrial zone near Tarragona.

A tweet by emergency services for the Catalonia region called the blast a “chemical accident” and advised residents to refrain from going outside as a preventive measure, as well as to close all windows.

The service said Tuesday there was no information available on possible deaths or injuries. The explosion led to a fire, it said.

Local residents posted videos showing the aftermath of the blast, with flames and a big column of black smoke emerging from an area dotted with big industrial tanks.

Some local residents told the local Tarragona Radio that the blast could be heard from miles away.


ORIGINAL: 10:25 a.m.

Emergency services say a chemical emergency alert has been activated in northeastern Spain following a big explosion in an industrial zone near Tarragona.

The explosion is believed to have happened at a petrochemical plant.

A tweet by emergency services for the Catalonia region called the blast a “chemical accident” and advised residents to refrain from going outside as a preventive measure.

More to come



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