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Recovery Efforts Continue After Explosion at BASF Plant

October 18, 2016
A view of a facility in BASF's Ludwigshafen, Germany chemical manufacturing complex. Image courtesy BASF
A view of a facility in BASF's Ludwigshafen, Germany chemical manufacturing complex. Image courtesy BASF

Two firefighters were killed and one person remains missing after an explosion Monday morning at the north harbor site of BASF’s Ludwigshafen, Germany chemical manufacturing complex, the German chemical company said in an update issued Tuesday morning. Eight people were seriously injured from the blast and 17 others received light injuries.

As of 11 a.m. local time Tuesday, the company’s firefighting department was still at the site engaged in cooling and other safety measures.

“We are deeply saddened that two employees have died. As fire fighters they were devoted to saving lives. Our deepest sympathy lies with the affected people and their families,” said member of BASF’s board and the company’s industrial relations director Margret Suckale in a statement.

The two firefighters that perished were employed by BASF, reported German news service Deutsche Welle, and the missing person is thought to be a member of the company’s fire brigade. As Powder & Bulk Solids previously reported, the explosion happened at about 11:30 a.m. Monday morning in a harbor area where raw materials are transported from ships to holding tanks, with initial reports listing only one person dead as a result of the blast.

The cause of the fire remains unclear. BASF’s latest release on Tuesday said the explosion occurred as work was being done on a pipelines.

BASF plant manager Uwe Liebelt told Deutsche Welle reporters that soot began spewing from a pipeline that was being repaired after the explosion and confirmed that ethylene and propylene were burned in fires following the blast.