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Explosion and fire kills two at Evonik plant in Germany

03 April 2012

An explosion and fire has killed two workers at Evonik Industries chemical plant in Marl, northern Germany. A spokesman for Infracor, the Evonik-owned industrial park where the plant is located, said an investigation into the cause of the accident is now under way. Evonik Chairman Klaus Engel issued a statement expressing sympathy for the families of the dead workers.

The explosion was in a part of Evonik's Marl plant that makes cyclododecatriene
The explosion was in a part of Evonik's Marl plant that makes cyclododecatriene

The explosion and fire occurred in the early afternoon of March 31 at the plant, which produces cyclododecatriene, an intermediate used to make flame retardants, flavours, and fragrances. The explosion immediately killed one worker; and a second suffered severe burns and later died of his injuries in hospital.

About 130 firefighters fought the blaze for 16 hours before it was extinguished. Local residents were warned to stay indoors with their windows and doors shut.

Infracor officials acknowledged that some butadiene leaked after the blaze, but they said emissions into the air were below danger threshold limits. 

About 10,000 Evonik employees work at the 2.5-sq-mile Infracor industrial site, which is also home to 30 other chemical-related companies. Among the products Evonik manufactures at the site are acrylic acid, fuel additives, plastics, adhesives, and catalysts.

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