Toll rises to two dead af­ter blast at Spain chem­i­cal plant

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

La Canonja, Spain - Res­cuers on Wed­nes­day found a body at a chem­i­cal plant in north­east­ern Spain, rais­ing to two those killed when an ex­plo­sion ripped through the fa­cil­ity, trig­ger­ing a mas­sive blaze which raged through the night.

Cata­lan re­gional in­te­rior min­is­ter Miquel Buch con­firmed the lat­est death, say­ing a body had been lo­cated un­der the rubble at the site on an in­dus­trial es­tate in La Canonja, just out­side the north­east­ern port city of Tar­rag­ona.

Spain’s civil pro­tec­tion au­thor­ity also con­firmed the sec­ond death, iden­ti­fy­ing the vic­tim as ‘an em­ployee at the plant’ re­ported miss­ing on Tues­day.

Hun­dreds of fire­fight­ers bat­tled through the night to try and con­tain the blaze which erupted around 7.00pm on Tues­day.

Dra­matic footage of the mo­ment of the ex­plo­sion, which was caught by a CCTV cam­era sev­eral kilo­me­tres away, showed a huge fire­ball light­ing up the hori­zon, caus­ing the ground to shake.

One per­son died when a sheet of metal flung into the air by the force of the blast crashed into a house sev­eral kilo­me­tres away in the Tar­rag­ona sub­urbs, the Cata­lan gov­ern­ment said.

Two oth­ers at site were rushed to hos­pi­tal with se­vere burns, res­cuers and local of­fi­cials said, while one per­son sus­tained less se­ri­ous burns and five oth­ers were lightly in­jured.

Some 30 fire engines were drafted in to try and con­tain the blaze and cool down the propy­lene ox­ide tank, the re­gional fire service said. Res­cuers re­sumed the search for the miss­ing em­ployee at day­break.

The cause of the blast at the IQOXE fa­cil­ity - which spe­cialises in the pro­duc­tion of eth­yl­ene ox­ide, gly­col and propy­lene ox­ide - was not im­me­di­ately known.

But fire­fight­ers and Spain’s civil pro­tec­tion au­thor­ity said no toxic sub­stances had been de­tected in the sur­round­ing area, with sub­stances at the plant said to be highly flammable but not toxic.

Many local res­i­dents com­plained they had been left in the dark over the mas­sive blast, say­ing the warning sirens had not been ac­ti­vated. La Canonja mayor Roc Munoz con­firmed the sirens did not go off.

Some 30 fire engines were drafted in to try and con­tain the blaze

(AFP)

Fire­fight­ers try to ex­tin­guish a fire at the IQOXE chem­i­cal plant af­ter an ex­plo­sion, out­side the port city of Tar­rag­ona on Tues­day

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