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Web Date: April 2, 2012

Explosion At German Chemical Plant Kills Two

Environment: Billowing smoke, butadiene leak force nearby residents indoors
Department: Business
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: plant safety, explosion, butadiene, Germany
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About 130 firefighters fight the blaze at Evonik’s plant in Marl, Germany.
Credit: Infracor
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About 130 firefighters fight the blaze at Evonik’s plant in Marl, Germany.
Credit: Infracor

An explosion and subsequent fire has killed two workers at an Evonik Industries chemical plant in Marl, Germany.

A spokesman for Infracor, the Evonik-owned industrial park where the plant is located, said an investigation into the cause of the accident is now under way; even preliminary findings are not yet available. Evonik Chairman Klaus Engel issued a statement expressing sympathy for the families of the dead workers.

The explosion and fire occurred in the early afternoon of March 31 at an Evonik plant that produces cyclododecatriene, an intermediate used to make flame retardants, flavors, and fragrances. The explosion immediately killed one worker; it was hours before his body could be recovered. A second worker who suffered severe burns was taken to the hospital, but he later died of his injuries.

About 130 firefighters fought 16 hours to extinguish the blaze. Local residents were warned to stay indoors with their windows and doors shut.

Infracor officials acknowledged that some butadiene leaked after the blaze, but they said emissions into the air were below danger threshold limits. The public was never at risk from exposure to the carcinogenic substance, they added.

About 10,000 Evonik employees work at the 2.5-sq-mile Infracor industrial site, which is also home to 30 other chemical-related companies. Among the products Evonik manufactures at the site are acrylic acid, fuel additives, plastics, adhesives, and catalysts.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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