explosion germany

Emergency vehicles stand not far from an access road to the Chempark over which a dark cloud of smoke is rising in Leverkusen, Germany, July 27, 2021.
Two people have been killed and five others are still missing after an explosion at a chemical park in the German city of Leverkusen.

More than thirty people were injured in the blast, including three "seriously," the municipality said in a statement.

"My thoughts go to the injured and their relatives. The search for the missing is still going on at full speed. Unfortunately, the hope of finding them alive is fading, " said the site operator's manager Lars Friedrich.

The explosion took place at around 09:30 CEST at a waste incineration plant in Leverkusen, a city in the western North Rhine-Westphalia region. The cause of the explosion remains unclear.

The municipality said that a tank of solvents was on fire, but said that the blaze had been extinguished after four hours and the situation was brought under control.

Germany's Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance had classified the explosion as "an extreme threat".

Around 360 emergency services staff were deployed to assist local authorities, the municipality said, including a fire brigade from Cologne, about 20 kilometres south. Several major roads nearby were also partially closed.

Authorities had called for people to keep windows and doors closed and to keep clear of the Bürrig district where the Chempark is located, but the area has now been given the all-clear.

Local fire services said that had been testing the air throughout the city for toxins but said that they remained "inconspicuous".

But residents have still been advised to avoid carrying soot particles into their homes and remove footwear outdoors.

Leverkusen is home to Bayer, one of Germany's biggest chemical companies.