Chemical plant explosion in Czech Republic kills 6

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Prague, March 22 (IANS) At least six people died in an explosion at a chemical plant near this Czech Republic’s capital on Thursday, firefighters said.

The explosion took place in the morning in the town of Kralupy nad Vltavou, 20 km to the north of Prague, at facility belonging to Ceské Rafinerska, a subsidiary of Unipetrol which has formed part of the Polish group PKN Orlen since 2005, officials said.

The blast destroyed a large storage tank at the chemical plant and left two people seriously injured who were taken to a hospital in Prague, the BBC reported.

“This morning there was an explosion without a subsequent fire in one of the tanks in the Kralupské refinery,” Unipetrol said in a statement. The company described the explosion as “an extraordinary event at the refinery.”

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The cause of the explosion, which took place during cleaning operations, had not yet been established, authorities said.

Cleaning work was being carried out by a new company that did not appear to have complied with procedures, according to Deputy Mayor Libor Lesák.

Czech TV said there was no risk to residents in Kralupy as the town was some distance from the plant.

Unipetrol is one of the largest oil distributing companies and producer of plastics in the Czech Republic.

The plant manufactures toughened polystyrene as well as synthetic rubber.

–IANS

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