Ludwigshafen, Germany — A number of workers and plant personnel are said to be injured or missing after a large fire broke out at BASF’s facility in Ludwigshafen.
Reports quoted the German chemicals giant as saying the fire followed an explosion, the cause of which had not been determined, which took place at a riverside harbour.
Residents near the plant have been advised to keep windows and doors shut.
The company said in a statement: “Today, October 17, at 11.30am there was an explosion at BASF in Ludwigshafen at the North Harbor during work on a pipeline, which resulted in fires. Several people were injured. Some people are still missing. All emergency services are at the scene.
“This resulted in a highly visible cloud of smoke. Residents in the relevant areas of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim are asked to stay indoors and close door and windows.
“For safety reasons, the steamcrackers and other plants at the site are being shutdown. This will result in flaring.
“An information booth for residents is being set up at Gate 11. The exact cause is being investigated. The relevant authorities have been informed.
“More information will follow.”
A BASF spokesman said reports that the explosion had taken place at Lampertheim were incorrect, and the blaze was in fact in BASF’s home town of Ludwigshafen.
Photos on social media showed a thick plume of smoke rising from the fire site.
The above article first appeared in Urethanes Technology International‘s sister publication Plastics & Rubber Weekly.