- They are still looking for one person employed at the plant who is missing.
One person has died after a nearby building collapsed and eight others have been injured, two with serious burns, on Tuesday as a result of a large explosion and fire at the Iqoxe ethylene oxide treatment plant in Polígon Sud de Tarragona, in La Canonja, Civil Protection, the Sistema d’Emergències has reported.
One of the injured is in critical condition, another has a very serious prognosis, another less serious and five are mild, in addition to the fact that a person employed at the plant is being sought, and the deceased has been a man who has been beaten by the effect of the shock wave in a building in Tarragona.
The explosion, described as a “chemical accident” has generated a shock wave and a large column of fire and smoke, and has forced the confinement to residents in seven municipalities with people told to stay indoors and close their windows in Tarragona, Salou, Vilaseca, Reus, Constantí, El Morell and La Canonja, although later restrictions were lifted to all but those in the immediate area.
As a result of the explosion, around 18.41 hours on Tuesday, the External Emergency Plan of the Chemical Sector of Catalonia (Plaseqcat) was activated, and the Mossos d’Esquadra also turned out all available patrols. A total of 24 units of the Generalitat Fire and Local Police have been moved to the site.
The body of the one fatality was found just after 7pm. The man was in a building in la plaza García Lorca, in the Torreforta neighborhood of Tarragona, and according to the fire brigade, he was inside a building that collapsed as a result of the shockwave felt during one of the explosions.
According to the firefighters, ethylene oxide burns in a controlled manner but by about 8.20pm they had managed to reduce the intensity of the flames that affect the deposit where the reserve of the substance are stored
At the time of writing a total of 29 firemen are still working on the fire, continuing to extinguish flames on a tank affected by the explosion. They have also continued checking the interior of the plant in case people were trapped.
The firefighters have sent in the Grec unit, which specialises in structural collapses, to make a review of the buildings of the site to guarantee the total stability of the buildings.
Video courtesy of El Mundo.
A spokesman explained that the explosion would have caused other small fires that affect other facilities in the plant.
The president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, the vice president of the Government and Minister of Economy and Finance of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and the Minister of the Interior, Miquel Buch, have visited the scene of the incident.
The company where the explosion occurred belongs to CL Industrial Group-. It has 120 employees specialises in the production of ethylene oxide, glycols and derivatives of ethylene oxide, located in the Petrochemical Polygon of Tarragona.
Iqoxe is the only producer of Ethylene Oxide in Spain, with a capacity of 140,000 tons per year, and 50% of this production is destined to the manufacture of Glycol, one of the main raw materials for the production of PET polymers.
The Environmental Agency of the Generalitat moved to the area have not detected the presence of any toxic airborne substances in the surroundings of the Francolí near the damaged site.