Five people were killed Thursday, May 12, in an explosion at a chemical plant in Slovenia, while six workers were injured, including one seriously, according to management and relief.

The accident occurred early in the morning in the establishment of the Slovenian group Melamin, located in the center of Kocejve, 60 kilometers from the capital Ljubljana. “A tank exploded” while unloading chemicals, starting a fire, said fire brigade chief Leon Behin when interviewed by the media.

Initially, there were reports of several missing, whose death was announced at the end of the afternoon. “Unfortunately, our fears have been confirmed,” plant manager Srecko Stefanic told reporters. The power of the explosion “left them no chance of survival,” he said, visibly shocked. It is a worker and “four outside workers” at the company.

“Human Error”

Among the injured employees, two with serious burns were evacuated by helicopter to Ljubljana, according to a statement from the hospital that treated them. One of them is in critical condition, Stefanic said. The tragedy was “caused by human error,” added the official, who declined to give further details until the investigation was complete.

Local authorities have asked residents not to leave their homes and to close their windows for fear of toxic fumes, in this town of 8,600 inhabitants. The precautionary measures were lifted in the afternoon when no impact on the environment was observed, said the management of the establishment.

Photos showed columns of black smoke rising from the factory, which manufactures resins for the paper, construction, wood and paint sectors, as well as decorative papers for the furniture industry, according to the company website. Founded in 1954, it employs nearly 200 employees.


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