BERLIN (AP) – An explosion at an industrial park for chemical companies rocked the German city of Leverkusen on Tuesday and sent a large black cloud into the air.
Germany’s Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance classified the explosion as “an extreme threat” and asked residents to stay inside and keep windows and doors closed, the German news agency dpa reported.
Operators at the Chempark site in Leverkusen, about 20 kilometers (13 miles) north of Cologne on the Rhine River, said the cause of the blast was unclear.
They said on Twitter that firefighters and pollution detection vans had been deployed.
Police could not be immediately reached for further details.
Daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger reported that the explosion took place in the Buerrig neighborhood at a garbage incineration plant in the chemical park.
The newspaper said police had closed several major highways nearby. It also reported that the smoke cloud was moving in a northwesterly direction towards the towns of Burscheid and Leichlingen.
Leverkusen is home to Bayer, one of the largest chemical companies in Germany.