SIX people are dead following an explosion and fire yesterday at the Melamin chemical plant in Kočevje, Slovenia, reports Reuters.
Five people died in the explosion, and the sixth succumbed to their injuries. Five others were reportedly injured, one of whom is in a critical condition. Associated Press (AP) says a total of 20 people sought some kind of medical assistance after the blast, which was reported on 12 May at about 08:30 local time.
AP adds that the incident was referred to as “the worst industrial fire in Slovenia’s recent history”. Reportedly, 17 industrial fires have been recorded since 1995, and these mostly resulted in material damage.
According to Reuters, firefighters “quickly extinguished” the blaze and the army decontaminated the local area.
An investigation into the cause is underway. However, AP reports that General Manager Srečko Štefanič said it occurred during the transfer of a highly combustible substance. Reports say he claimed it was likely due to human error.
Melamin supplies resins to a range of industries including civil engineering, paint and lacquer, paper, rubber, textiles, and wood processing and furniture industries. According to AP, the plant has about 200 employees.
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