16 injured, 5 missing in explosion at German chemical hub

Berlin: An explosion at an industrial park for chemical companies shook the German city of Leverkusen on Tuesday, sending a large black cloud rising into the air. At least 16 people were injured and five remain missing.

Germany’s Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance classified the explosion as an extreme threat and asked residents to stay inside, turn off ventilation systems and keep windows and doors closed, German news agency dpa reported.

Later on Tuesday, however, the Cologne fire department tweeted that measurements of the air’s pollution do not show any kind of abnormality . They said the smoke had gone down but that they would continue to measure the air for toxins.

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The city of Leverkusen said in a statement that the explosion at the Chempark site, about 20 km (13 miles) north of Cologne on the Rhine river, occurred in storage tanks for solvents. It said four people were severely injured and 12 less seriously. Five people are missing.

Currenta, the company operating the chemical park, said the explosion happened at 9:40 am at the storage tanks of their waste management centre and then developed into a fire.

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