Man Killed By Debris Of Chemical Plant Explosion More Than 3km Away
A man was killed in his apartment when a one-tonne metal plate crashed into his building, after an explosion at a chemical plant more than three kilometres away sent debris flying through the air.
The incident took place in the Spanish region of Catalonia on Tuesday night, January 14, at around 6.40pm, when the IQOXE plant in Tarragona detonated – sending a fireball and plumes of smoke soaring into the sky.
Two employees from the factory were also killed in the explosion, while a further eight workers were reportedly injured.
Have a look at the CCTV footage of the explosion below:
The factory – one of several located in La Canonja Petrochemical Park – produced ethylene oxide (used to make antifreeze, pesticides and sterilising agents) as well as propylene oxide, both of which are very flammable.
The 59-year-old man, named only as Sergio by El Pais, was killed when a metal plate – 122 x 165 x 3 centimetres and weighing a tonne – flew into the Plaça García Lorca housing estate in nearby Torreforta, causing the apartment above him to collapse on top of Sergio while he was in his bedroom. He was alone at the time, after his wife and grandchild had gone out for a walk.
The chunk of metal is believed to have been a panel, possibly the reactor lid, which was launched into the air when the plant’s reactor exploded. According to local resident Antonia Mora, ‘it was like a bomb’.
Laura Paño, who was working in the nearby town of Vilaseca at the time of the explosion, told El Pais:
Suddenly the front door flew open and the glass on the windows started to shake. Everyone rushed outdoors because they thought something had happened there. We didn’t hear any sounds. The first thing you think is that there has been an earthquake.
The explosion was reported in an area of the factory that had only opened last year following an investment of around €10 million, according to local news reports.
Videos soon emerged online as the fire raged on. As reported by Al Jazeera, more than 20 fire trucks, 11 emergency medical service vehicles and a helicopter attended the incident.
While there were immediate fears over public safety, the Catalan premier Quim Torra told local reporters ‘no toxic agent’ had been detected in the air.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s office also said he has been in contact with Catalan authorities, adding the government was ready to ‘provide the necessary support due to this serious event, which has caused several injuries and substantial material damage’.
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