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27 Jul, 2021 11:43

2 dead & 5 missing after HUGE explosion rocks German chemical park, injuring at least 31

2 dead & 5 missing after HUGE explosion rocks German chemical park, injuring at least 31

Two people have died and at least 31 are injured after a serious blast occurred at a disposal center in Leverkusen’s Chempark. Locals were told to stay inside and close doors and windows as smoke billowed above the city.

Five people remain missing after the incident and two deaths have been confirmed, Chempark said in a statement on Tuesday evening. 

“My thoughts are with the injured and loved ones. The search for the missing is still going on at full speed. Unfortunately, the hope of finding them alive is dwindling,” manager Lars Friedrich said.

The huge explosion rocked the city of Leverkusen in the German province of North Rhine-Westphalia on Tuesday morning. The cause of the explosion remains unknown.

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Police provided a number of updates throughout the morning on Twitter and urged people to stay away from the area and keep off the roads, noting that they need as many emergency service personnel on-site as possible.

The blast injured at least 31 people, according to local police, five of whom were so seriously wounded as to require intensive care.

Residents also received an “extreme danger” warning on the NINA app, which sends important civil protection warnings for various hazard situations. 

The city’s police department said many roads around the facility were blocked off in the immediate wake of the incident. Motorways were also affected.

The authorities also urged people not to go outdoors and to remain in a room with the doors and windows firmly shut. Chempark later said that an all-clear had been issued "for the entire city area". 

The fire was extinguished shortly after 2pm local time, allowing rescue workers to undertake their recovery operations at full speed. In an earlier statement, the city’s authorities said that the blaze occurred at a tank containing solvents. Fire crews had to wait for a power cable to be disconnected before they could get to work.

More than 30 companies operate at Chempark but Currenta insisted that the incident took place at the park’s landfill and waste incineration facility, which is detached from the main industrial area. The main part of the complex houses chemical firms such as Covestro, Bayer, Lanxess and Arlanxeo, according to its website.

2 dead & 5 missing after HUGE explosion rocks German chemical park, injuring at least 31

In recent weeks, the state and neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate were hit by devastating floods that resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 people.

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