Explosion at Oilseed Processing Factory Leaves 1 Critically Injured

Hundreds of workers were evacuated.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

April 11, 2024

1 Min Read
Explosion at oilseed plant leaves 1 critically injured
The plant uses oilseed for biodiesel production.Scharfsinn86 / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

An explosion followed by a fire Wednesday at a French oilseed factory left at least one person critically injured, according to local authorities.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control soon after the explosion in the biodiesel part of Saipol oil products factory in the port of Sete, on the Mediterranean coast, the prefecture for the surrounding Herault region said in a statement.

One factory employee was hospitalized in critical condition, and some 200 others were evacuated after the explosion, the prefecture said. Authorities are conducting tests for eventual toxicity in the surrounding air and soil.

The factory was not in operation when the explosion occurred, as maintenance work was being carried out, the prefecture said, adding that activity at the port of Sete was continuing.

The plant is part of a European system called Seveso that requires facilities that handle dangerous substances to have additional safety measures.

The cause of the explosion is being investigated.

Founded in 1983, Saipol, a subsidiary of the Avril group, ensures the first processing of oilseeds (rapeseed and sunflower) into products for human and animal consumption. It is France's largest biodiesel producer.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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