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2 Blasts Rock Petrochem Plant in Southern France

2 Blasts Rock Petrochem Plant in Southern France2 Blasts Rock Petrochem Plant in Southern France

Two blasts have rocked a petrochemical plant in Bouches-du-Rhone department in southern France, authorities say. The explosion occurred close to Marseille Provence Airport, the fifth-busiest in the country.

"Two tanks, 500 meters apart from each other and filled with chemicals, are affected," a source close to the investigation told France’s press, RT reported.

The first tank contained gasoline and the second had naphtha, a flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture. Some 120 firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene. Authorities say they have implemented special measures to prevent possible hydrocarbon pollution of the town and nearby communities. A"preventive dam" was installed in the city near the plant to prevent hydrocarbon pollution related to firefighting water.

Impressive plumes of smoke are visible at the site and air pollution is expected in areas within a radius of 1.5 km from the affected plant, France Bleu Provence radio reported. A northwestern wind spreads the plumes of smoke to the surrounding towns of Marignane, Les Pennes-Mirabeau and St. Victoret.

The incident happened on Tuesday morning at the LyonDellBasell oil refinery in the town of Berre lEtang. According to press reports, the explosions were heard near Marseille Provence Airport, the fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic in France. The airport is only 11.5 km from the town of Berre lEtang.

According to the prefecture, no injuries have been reported so far. LyondellBasell is a multinational chemical company that operates on five continents and employs about 11,000 people.

 

Financialtribune.com