The death toll from a massive explosion and fire at a petrochemical plant in Tarragona, Spain, climbed to three Wednesday with the recovery of a body from the plant wreckage and the death of another person critically injured in the Tuesday blast.
The first fatality reported Tuesday was found in a partially collapsed building two kilometers from the explosion. The collapse was initially blamed on the concussion from the blast.
Firefighters spent much of Tuesday working to extinguish a storage tank where the explosion took place, while simultaneously cooling neighboring chemical tanks and searching for injured survivors. The contents of the tank have been identified as propylene oxide in social media posts by firefighters and city officials.
The initial blast at about 6:45 p.m. prompted city officials to issue a chemical accident alert via social media, warning people to stay indoors with their windows closed.
In addition to the explosion in the storage tank, a second explosion involving an industrial electric transformer was reported.
The building collapse in the nearby Torreforta neighborhood involved a five-story structure in which the third floor crashed down onto the floor below, killing a resident of the building. Some news agencies report that the building was struck by flying debris as well as the concussion.
Inspections were conducted of other buildings to determine their structural integrity after the blast, the fire brigade website states.
As of 11: 30 p.m., the shelter-in-place order issued by the city government has been lifted. No indications of a toxic release were reported. However, at about 2 p.m. the search for a person thought to be trapped inside the damaged plant was suspended until daylight. The body of a second fatality in the disaster was discovered in a control room at the fire scene shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Firefighters declared at 11:33 a.m. that the fire in the storage tank was extinguished. All remaining product in the tank will be transferred, a process that might stretch into Thursday.
The plant, located in a local industrial park, is home to Industrias Quimicas de Etileno, specializing in the production of ethylene oxide, glycols, and ethylene oxide derivatives.
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