1 killed in explosion at French chemical plant

January 6, 2011

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PARIS—An explosion at a chlorine plant in southern France on Thursday killed one man and injured nine, authorities said.

The administration for the Bouches-du-Rhone region said a leak of water containing sodium prompted the explosion. The blast occurred at a plant run by Gazechim in the Mediterranean port of Lavera.

The administration said in a statement that no gases leaked outside the site. Traffic around the site was restricted, and specialists in chemical accidents were there.

A 28-year-old man who worked at the plant died immediately, the administration said, without providing details. The local emergency service said that one other person suffered serious injuries and eight others were treated for chemical poisoning.

The explosion coughed up a black and white cloud and damaged a reservoir, causing chlorine gas to escape, the administration said in a statement.