One person has died and four people are still missing after an explosion in a chemical industrial park in Germany.
The body of a man was recovered from the site in the city Leverkusen, German media RTL and Die Welt reported.
The cause of the explosion at the site, about 13 miles north of Cologne, was unclear – Chempark operator Currenta said.
Police said on Tuesday afternoon that 31 people were injured, with five of them in intensive care.
Chempark director Lars Friedrich said: “We are deeply affected by this tragic accident and the death of an employee. Our special sympathy goes above all to the relatives, but also to the colleagues who worked with him.”
The explosion took place at a rubbish incineration plant, the newspaper Daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger reported.
Footage of the explosion on Tuesday shows a thick cloud of smoke rising out of the building that is on fire.
The explosion has been classified as “an extreme threat” by Germany’s Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance.
Police in Cologne wrote on Facebook: “The situation in Leverkusen-Wiesdof is still confusing at the moment. We are on-site with many police forces and we are clarifying the situation. There are several injured people.”
Residents have been asked to stay indoors with their windows and doors closed, German news agency dpa reported.
The smoke cloud was moving in a north-western direction toward the towns of Burscheid and Leichlingen, Daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger reported.
Emergency services had been deployed, and people from outside of Leverkusen have been advised to avoid the region.
Several nearby motorways have also been shut.
Leverkusen is home to Bayer, one of Germany’s biggest chemical companies. Many of the 163,000 residents of Leverkusen work at the pharmaceutical company.
Additional reporting by AP
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