An explosion and fire this morning at a massive chemical plant in Lampertheim, Germany has killed one person and injured seven others, six seriously. News sources are reported that six people are missing, although they are warn that the incident is still unfolding and new information could become available.
Smoke rose hundreds of feet into the air, prompting warnings to area residents and those of nearby towns and cities to close their windows. Motorists were also told to avoid the area. Five hours after the incident, small fires were still burning in the area, although officials said they were under control.
Although the cause is still under investigation, terrorism has been ruled out, according to the authorities.
BASF, which employs approximately 122,000 workers globally, said the explosion had happened during work on a pipeline route for transporting raw chemicals to shipping. BASF is the world’s largest chemical manufacturer.
The company issued conflicting statements about the potential danger of the incident to human health and the environment – which drew sharp criticism on social media.
An initial statement from BASF said that the “environmental measurement vehicles of the BASF are running back and forth outside the facility,” and finding no indications of contamination.
However, in the next statement, the company urged area residents to remain indoors and close their windows.