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Chemical explosion blankets Buenos Aires in toxic cloud

10 December 2012

According to the RT agency, a chemical container exploded in Buenos Aires, Argentina, blanketing the capital in a huge toxic cloud. Residents were being told to stay inside while an evacuation from the area surrounding the blast was ordered. The container filled with pesticide caught on fire after a chemical reaction caused the explosion on December 6. 

As the flames were put out, yellow smoke billowed out of it. City officials believe the container may have been transporting garbage.

“The pesticide presents a low level of danger and affects the respiratory tract,” said Sergio Berni, the national Security Secretary, as quoted by C5N television channel.

The incident happened at the city's Port Terminal 4 early in the morning. Several buildings in the port and the surrounding area were evacuated, according to Buenos Aires's Civil Defense. Residents in nearby areas were told to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off air conditioning.

Later in the morning a strange heavy odour, described as similar to burnt oil, hit the city causing some metro lines and the city’s domestic airport to suspend operations.

A public health and security emergency has been declared by the country’s Security Ministry in the wake of the incident, reports Buenos Aires Herald. 

Some residents complained of eye irritation and breathing problems and moved along the streets covering their faces with masks and handkerchiefs, but officials said "the situation was under control".

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