Large Explosion Reported in at Chemical Park in Leverkusen, Germany

Oleochem Analytics – A large explosion with at least two fatalities and multiple injured was reported on Tuesday at a chemical park in Leverkusen, Germany, according to a statement published by Currenta, the company that manages Chempark.

The explosion was reported at 9.40 am German local time and was followed by a fire in the tank farm of the Bürrig disposal center, Currenta said.

Currenta said rescue workers in the fire brigade have only been able to recover two deceased employees. There are at least four employees still missing and 31 employees who were injured in the event.

The actual cause and reason for the explosion are still not clear. Lars Friedrich, head of Chempark, said at a press conference held July 27 that it is impossible to start an investigation into the cause of the industrial accident until the search for the missing employees is completely finished.

However, Friedrich said the incident occurred when three tanks containing organic solvents caught fire. The tanks were not full at their complete capacity.

Due to the temporarily unsecured power supply of the site, all administrative employees were asked to leave the site as a precaution. The operations in the Chempark have been brought into safe mode.

Lanxess, which counts its largest production site at the Chempark in Leverkusen, said that the power supply to the Leverkusen site has been temporarily restricted.  As a precautionary measure, all LANXESS plants were brought to a safe state yesterday.  Currently they are being restarted wherever possible.  However, due in particular to uncertainties in wastewater disposal, not all of the plants have been started up at this time.

Bayer is headquartered at the Leverkusen Chempark, along with several other firms including Evonik and Covestro whoch also operate plants in the area. 

Bayer has communicated to OA that Bayer facilities at the Chempark were not affected, so production and office work remained at normal levels.

Evonik said that their plant at Chempark has not been directly affected by the explosion and all of their employees are safe.

As for Covestro, it said their system is in safe condition, and production measures are currently being coordinated by the Covestro crisis team in consultation with Chempark/Currenta.  Covestro said that its employees have not been affected by the explosion either, since many have been working from home due to the pandemic.

Residents in Leverkusen have been asked to stay indoors, switch off air conditioning and keep windows and doors closed as a precaution.

Currenta manages and operates Chempark, and maintains other sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany.

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