Thursday 19 October 2017

Toxic chemical cloud alert lifted

Firemen work in the area of a chemical explosion in Igualada, Spain (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Firemen work in the area of a chemical explosion in Igualada, Spain (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Spanish authorities have lifted all restrictions for 60,000 people urged to stay indoors for hours after a chemical explosion at a warehouse spread a large, toxic orange cloud over six towns.

Catalonia's regional civil protection department ended the alert early today, 12 hours after the accident in north-eastern Igualada when products being delivered to a warehouse were somehow mixed and exploded.

Six people suffered slight injuries but only one remained in hospital today with leg burns.

Igualada Mayor Marc Castells said human error apparently caused the accident. The town and affected surrounding communities are about 40 miles (70km) north-west of Barcelona.

The department says the chemicals included nitric acid and ferric chloride, which is believed to be the cause of the bizarre cloud's bright orange colour.

The blast prompted authorities to order about 60,000 people in Igualada and five surrounding towns to stay indoors, and roads were closed leading into the area.

Those restrictions were lifted for most people a few hours after the cloud emerged, but authorities kept in place until early this morning the order to stay inside for the elderly, small children, pregnant women and people with lung problems.

Press Association

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