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One killed in explosion at BASF chemical facility in Germany

The company asked local residents to remain inside and close all doors and windows. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Frankfurt, Germany Oct 17, 2016, 12.30 PM (IST)

German chemicals giant BASF on Monday said an explosion at its headquarters in western Germany left several people injured and one dead. 

The company said it had notified the relevant authorities after an explosion at BASF Ludwigshafen around 11:30 am local time triggered several fires. 

BASF said in a statement that the blast was caused by work on a pipeline resulting in a large fire and huge plumes of smoke rising from the site. 

Emergency services from the entire region rushed to the site to prevent the fire spreading to other parts of the plant, the city authorities said in a statement. Fire engines and a fireboat had been deployed to the scene. 

The company advised residents in Ludwigshafen and nearby Mannheim to remain inside and close all doors and windows. Local authorities have also ordered nurseries and schools to keep children indoors.

Some residents had complained of respiratory irritations on the company's twitter account. Am emergency hotline has also been set up along with an information tent. 

The factory's steam crackers, that are used for chemical procedures to produce lighter hydrocarbons, had also been shut down for safety reasons following the incident, a BASF spokeswoman said.

Ludwigshafen is located around 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Frankfurt. The Landeshafen Nord site where the explosion took place is a harbour used for the transportation of combustible fluids and liquefied gases. The goods are unloaded from ships into the production plants via a system of pipelines. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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