Five people were killed today when a chemical plant exploded in Slovenia, injuring six workers, one of them seriously, according to first aid services and industry management.
The accident took place early in the morning at the Melamin Group facility in downtown Kocevie, 60 km from the capital Ljubljana.
“A tank exploded” as chemicals were being unloaded, causing a fire, fire chief Leon Behin told reporters on the spot.
Initially, the fire brigade spoke of “many missing persons”.
“Unfortunately, our fears have been confirmed,” said factory manager Sreko Stefanic. The blast was so powerful that “they had no chance of surviving,” he added, visibly shocked.
Stefanic clarified that the victims are a factory worker and four external collaborators.
Two of the injured, who suffered severe burns, were airlifted to Ljubljana. One of them is being treated in critical condition, Stefanic clarified.
The factory manager attributed the tragedy to “human error”, but declined to give further details because the authorities’ investigation has not yet been completed.
Local authorities have urged residents living near the industry not to leave their homes and close the windows tightly for fear of toxic fumes. In the afternoon, however, the precautionary measures were taken, as no impact was found on the environment of this community of 8,600 inhabitants.