An explosion at a chemical park in western Germany has killed one person, and six others are missing, according to officials who have also called on the population to remain indoors for fear of possible contamination.
Reports also state that 16 people were injured following the explosion, which occurred at 9:30 local time in the city of Leverkusen and the injured have been transported to the hospital for medical follow up.
Authorities say the cause of the deadly explosion is unknown and has ordered an investigation to be carried out to understand if it was an accident or a man-made error.
Lars Friedrich, the head of Leverkusen Champark, told reporters in a press conference that the local population needs to stay indoors and listen to instructions from officials because the gas could be toxic and cause more health damages.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident, and the death of an employee and rescue efforts continue at full speed for the missing persons,” Friedrich told the press in a news conference.
He added that three tanks had been destroyed following the blast, which is huge damage for the company.
Uwe Richrath, the city mayor of Leverkusen, described the Tuesday incident as “a dark day for the people of Leverkusen” and has closed playgrounds as precautionary measures.
State media have also reported that many police and fighters have been deployed in the area to stop the flames and locate those missing.
There are about 70 companies based in the area where the explosion occurred. It comes after more than 180 people were reported dead in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate state due to floods.