Strong explosion reported at chemical factory in Slovenia | News


Some 20 people were injured, two seriously and four people are still missing after a fire that destroyed the Melamin chemical plant in Kočevje, Slovenia, on Thursday, after an explosion occurred around 9:00 local time (07:00 UTC), although it is not reported, for the moment, danger of a new explosion.


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According to the first data from the mobile laboratory analysis, there are no dangerous substances present in the atmosphere, only soot and smoke particles. This was confirmed by the local civil protection services, which confirmed that the gas released was epichlorohydrin.

However, an inspection of the fire-fighting water stored in the company area is still ongoing and people are advised to close doors and windows and not stand outside within 500 meters of the explosion site.

The building is badly damaged. The impact also caused broken windows in the area, the Protection and Rescue Administration of the Republic of Slovenia said.

According to their data, more than 20 people were injured in the explosion at the Melamin chemical factory in Kočevje, and two badly burned people were transported by helicopter to the Ljubljana University Medical Center, where they initially activated a plan for mass accidents.

Firefighters from 16 different units were first sent to the field, confirmed the commander of the Kočevje Fire Brigade and the head of the intervention, Leon Behin: “There was more than one serious event, but for now we have things under control.”

All the water from the fire was captured in special tanks at the company’s premises, so, according to him, there was no spillage into the environment. Company employees assured firefighters that the things that were burning shouldn’t be too much of a problem. He added that the stench and black smoke were not from burning hazardous substances, but from burning in the electrical installation.

In accordance with environmental legislation, the Melamin plant is one of the plants with the greatest risk to the environment. The company, which is one of the largest employers in the region, is mainly engaged in the production of resins for paints and varnishes and in the wood, construction and textile industries. It was founded in 1954 in Kočevje and, according to data from the end of 2021, employs 194 workers.

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