Thursday 14 December 2017

Three injured in explosion - toxic cloud hangs over northern Spain

An orange toxic cloud is seen over the town of Igualada, near Barcelona following an explosion in a chemical plant. Reuters/Paula Arias
An orange toxic cloud is seen over the town of Igualada, near Barcelona following an explosion in a chemical plant. Reuters/Paula Arias

Three people were injured in an explosion at a chemical plant in northern Spain near Barcelona.

Residents of five north-eastern towns in Spain were ordered to stay indoors for two hours after a chemical explosion at a warehouse spread a large, orange toxic cloud over the area.

The regional government of Catalonia said in a statement that the blast appeared to have been caused by two chemicals coming into contact during delivery to the plant, owned by Spanish company Simar.

A thick orange cloud could be seen emanating from the site in Igualada, some 60 km from Barcelona, according to pictures and television footage of the incident, before spreading over residential areas nearby.

The region's civil protection department ordered some 65,000 residents of Igualada and four nearby towns to stay indoors until the cloud dissipated.

The order was lifted two hours later but maintained for pregnant women, children, elderly people and those with respiratory problems.

Roads in and out of Igualada, located some 40 miles north-west of Barcelona, were cordoned off during the alert and people were urged not to place themselves in danger by taking photographs of the cloud.

Catalan authorities told people to shut their windows and stay inside as a precaution, and cut off some roads in the area as well as a train line.

By 1100 GMT, the confinement order was partially lifted, although emergency services were still advising children and elderly people as well as pregnant woman to stay indoors in six affected towns.

One of the two chemicals involved, nitric acid, was corrosive and toxic, authorities said.

Reuters

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