Kralupy nad Vltavou, Central Bohemia, March 23 (CTK) – Vapours of inflammable liquids exploded in a chemical plant near Prague on Thursday in an accident that claimed six lives and investigators are still trying to find out the relevant substances, detective of regional firefighters Libor Pospisil told CTK on Friday.
Two injured people are still in hospital after the detonation in a fuel tank.
“We know that vapours of inflammable liquids exploded. We are trying to find out from where the vapours were and what could have initiated the detonation,” Pospisil said.
He said at the critical moment, the employees were standing on the tank and the explosion threw them in the air.
The Romanian Foreign Ministry said five out of the six victims were Romanian citizens. The police know the identity of three victims, two of whom are foreigners.
The tank that exploded was out of operation for several years, Pavel Kaidl, from the Unipetrol company to which the plant belongs, told journalists.
It was used for the storage of the fuel manufactured in the refinery. External firms were working on its possible reopening in the future, Kaidl said.
The cause of the explosion is still unknown and the damage has not been quantified either.
Unipetrol has established a special investigating commission.
The blast has been one the most tragic accidents in Czech industrial plants in the last 50 years. Since the fall of the communist regime in 1989, no industrial accident in the country has claimed so many victims.
Unipetrol is the only Czech oil processing company and a major plastics producer.
A special team was also formed by the State Work Inspection Office. It presumes that it will finish the investigation by two to three months. It may fine the owner with up to two million crowns.