The petrochemical plant of La Canonja (Tarragona) has registered a strong explosion on the afternoon of this Tuesday that has been heard from the city of Tarragona, with flames and a column of smoke, and that leaves at least eight injured – one critic, another very serious, one less serious and five minor- and one killed by the collapse of a nearby building. The incident has occurred in the plant operated by the company Iqoxe, dedicated to the production of ethylene oxide, a highly flammable but non-toxic product. The Catalan Interior Minister, Miquel Buch, added that one of the workers at the plant is missing.

The facts have been about 18.41 on this Tuesday. Twenty minutes later, the third floor of a nearby building has sunk as a result of the explosive wave, as explained by the mayor of Torreforta, one of the nearby municipalities that have been affected. The force has been felt in Tarragona capital and in Salou, among other locations.

The regional police have activated all available patrols, and units of the Generalitat Fire and Local Police have moved to the scene. President Pedro Sánchez has called the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, to exchange information about the explosion. The Government assured that it is in “permanent contact with the Generalitat from the outset through the Government Delegate in Catalonia” and that “it has been made available to the Generalitat to provide the necessary support”. Torra and his vice president, Pere Aragonès, have moved to the place of the event.

Civil Protection has asked the inhabitants of Vila-seca and La Canonja to lock themselves in their homes and cover doors and windows, because of the smoke that comes from the plant fire. Ethylene oxide is a non-toxic but highly flammable product, as reported to Europa Press police sources. Those of Tarragona, Reus, Constantí, El Morell and Salou recommend doing it in case the wind carries a cloud of smoke.

Transport court

Renfe interrupted the circulation of trains in the Tarragona-Reus and Tarragona-Port Aventura sections, affecting R13, R14, R15, R16, R17, RT1 and RT2. Normal circulation resumed around 8:30 p.m.

Due to the activation of the External Emergency Plan of the Chemical Sector of Catalonia (PLASEQCAT), C-31b, from Vila-seca to Tarragona, has been cut; the N-340, from Vila-seca to Tarragona, and the link of the T-315 with the A-7 in Reus.