One dead, one missing in blast at Spanish chemical plant

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — One person was killed, six others injured and one reported missing following an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in northeast Spain on Tuesday, regional authorities said.

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

Spain’s civil protection authority insisted that no toxic substances had been detected in the surrounding area.

Firefighters moved in to put out the blaze, which was said to have begun in an ethylene oxide tank, and to “cool down the adjacent tanks”.

The Catalan region interior affairs chief, Miquel Buch, said that “six people have been injured, one is dead and one is missing in the explosion at La Canonja”, a town in Tarragona province.

Video footage showed high flames and columns of smoke around the complex.

The person who was killed had been in a nearby house destroyed in the blast, the civil protection service said.

Of the six injured, two were said to have suffered serious burns, with the others being treated for more minor burns.

The missing person was a worker at the plant.

Local authorities urged residents in the immediate vicinity to remain indoors, while the civil protection unit said the air was free of toxic substances.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered “the necessary support” to the Catalan authorities.

© Agence France-Presse