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  • Mikuláš Vochozka

Chemical Plant Explosion in Germany; Billowing Black Smoke Seen for Miles Around Site

A chemical plant explosion in the western German city of Leverkusen, sent a black smoke cloud into the sky that could be seen for miles around.

Scenes from Leverkusen today after the explosion. (Photo: Frankfurter Rundschau)

The scene, like something from a post-apocalyptic film, rocked the city of Leverkusen, Germany. A loud explosion shook the city, and a black cloud flooded the blue sky. People had to stay at home and not open the windows to avoid accidentally inhaling the toxic substances that escaped into the air. Police described the situation as extremely dangerous and chaotic.

In the German city of Leverkusen, a chemical industrial park exploded this morning around 9:40 AM. The German Civil Protection Agency described the situation as extremely dangerous. The extent of the damage is not yet known. According to German sources, there are 16 injured at the scene of the explosion so far, two of them seriously (although there was talk of four seriously injured at first), at least five people are missing and one is dead. The police closed the very busy A1 motorway for a while, but it is in (limited) traffic again this afternoon. Other traffic routes remain closed.

The city of Leverkusen was shrouded in a black cloud of smoke rising from the site of the blast. According to witnesses, the explosion could be heard all around the chemical plant. Shortly after the explosion, citizens were alerted to the extreme dangers by the government's NINA mobile alert application. Residents of the city and adjacent residential areas were asked to stay at home, not open windows and turn on the air conditioning, due to the possible release of toxic substances into the air.

German police officers do not yet know the reason for the accident, as the situation continues to develop. Firefighters only managed to get the fire under control at noon. There was a danger that if the fire spread with solvents, of which hundreds of liters were stored at the plant, the fire could reach parts of the complex where more than 100,000 liters of highly flammable liquids were stored, which could lead to further explosions and further release of toxic substances into the air.

According to firefighters, the first measurements of air by environmental protection units in the north of Cologne showed that there is currently no danger to the population. Measurements would continue. However, drivers were asked to keep the vehicle windows closed and turn off the ventilation.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

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