The explosion happened at Chempark Leverkusen at around 9:40 a.m. for a previously unknown cause, with subsequent fire in the tank farm of a disposal center, said Currenta, the company operating the Chempark site, in a statement online.
An explosion at a chemical park shook the German city of Leverkusen, leaving at least one person dead and several still missing.
Firefighters managed to put out the resulting blaze after four hours, but the investigation into what caused the blast continues. pic.twitter.com/XxrvhUWIF3
Several employees were injured, with at least two of them seriously hurt, and five remained missing, the Currenta statement also said.
Local news portal Rheinische Post later said that 16 people were injured, four of them severely. The search for the missing people is underway.
The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance classified the explosion as "an extreme threat" and asked residents to stay indoors and keep their windows closed, German news agency DPA reported. Local police have shut down several nearby highways.
Leverkusen is about 11 km north of Cologne. Chempark is an industrial park for chemical companies, including German chemical giant Bayer.