An explosion at a chemical plant sows panic in Leverkusen

The explosion, followed by a localized fire, injured “several employees, at least two of them seriously”

An explosion of unknown origin at a waste treatment plant caused two serious injuries and intense smoke in Leverkusen (western Germany), whose inhabitants were urged not to leave their homes.

The explosion, followed by a local fire, occurred around 09:40 (0740 GMT) and injured “several employees, at least two of them seriously,” the Currenta company said in a statement. “Five employees are missing,” said the company, which runs a plant that includes a waste storage center and an incinerator.

The former subsidiary of the chemical giant Bayer said Leverkusen residents were urged to stay “in locked rooms, turn off the air conditioning and, as a precaution, close doors and windows.”

The incident is classified as “extreme danger” according to the national disaster alert app Nina. The plant is located on the edge of an industrial park that groups together companies in the chemical sector, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, on the outskirts of Leverkusen.

This city, which has about 160,000 inhabitants, is located about twenty kilometers from Cologne. Air quality measurements show that Cologne’s population is “not in danger,” tweeted the fire department of this city of more than a million inhabitants.

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