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Explosion at German hazardous waste treatment plant leaves one dead, 4 unaccounted for


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27.07.2021 − 

One employee was killed and 31 injured in an explosion and subsequent fire at a hazardous waste incineration facility in the German city of Leverkusen on Tuesday morning. Two of the workers had sustained life-threatening injuries and four further employees were still unaccounted for, a spokesman for site operator Currenta said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Later in the afternoon the number of employees reported to be seriously injured was raised to five.

According to the Currenta spokesman, the explosion had occurred in the facility's tank farm, where chlorinated solvents, production waste from the neighbouring Chempark industrial site, were being stored prior to disposal. A total of three tanks, each filled with 200 to 300 cubic metres of waste solvent, were destroyed by the fire. It was unknown at this point what set off the explosion. The search for the missing workers took precedence over any investigation into the cause of the incident, the Currenta spokesman explained.

In addition to the hazardous waste incineration plant, the integrated waste management centre in Bürrig also houses a landfill and a treatment plant for municipal and industrial waste water. About 50 to 60 employees had been working at the waste disposal centre today, according to Currenta.

Following the blast, the sky filled with clouds of dark smoke and residents were urged to stay indoors and close doors and windows. A fire department spokesperson said that authorities were carrying out air quality monitoring.

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