Spain explosion: Huge blast kills one after 'chemical emergency' at Tarragona factory

Peter Stubley
AP

One person was killed and at least eight people were injured in a large explosion at a petrochemical plant in northeastern Spain.

Emergency services for the Catalonia region described the blast at the port of Tarragona on Tuesday evening as a “chemical accident”.

They later confirmed one person had died after a nearby building collapsed. The injured included two people with major burns. One other person was reported missing.

Videos of the blast posted online showed a massive ball of fire rising into the sky followed by a large column of black smoke

The explosion prompted authorities to issue a ‘chemical emergency’ alert advising the city’s 800,000 residents to stay indoors and close their windows.

Twenty-nine fire engines, eleven medical vehicles, a helicopter and several units equipped with radiological, nuclear, biological and chemical equipment responded to the incident.

However the civil defence agency later reassured nearby residents: “There is no evidence of a toxic cloud.”

Video footage captured a large fireball as the chemical tank exploded (VilaWeb/Twitter)

The fire brigade confirmed the explosion involved a chemical tank at Industrias Quimicas del Oxido de Etileno.

“We continue to extinguish the fire of the ethylene oxide tank, cooling the neighboring tanks where there are also chemicals, and inspecting the whole premises to rule out more people being affected,” the force tweeted.

Tarragona is located 70 miles south west of Barcelona, the regional capital of Spain’s Catalonia region.

It follows a major fire at a solvent and industrial residues recycling plant in the northeastern town of Montornes del Valles last month.

After that blast, authorities had to cordon off a 500 metre-wide area around the plant.

Additional reporting by agencies

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