German town evacuated after gas tank blast

2013-09-28 22:07
Policemen and rescue workers stand near the site of a gas explosion on the premises of a gas-producing company in Harthausen near Speyer, south-western Germany.

Policemen and rescue workers stand near the site of a gas explosion on the premises of a gas-producing company in Harthausen near Speyer, south-western Germany.

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Harthausen - Sixteen firemen were injured - seven of them seriously - and a town of 3 000 was evacuated in south-western Germany on Saturday after a gas tank explosion, with officials worried that another tank could also soon blow up.

Reports said the village of Harthausen was a "ghost town" after the early morning explosion on a business property. Residents were evacuated to a neighbouring town, with no idea as to when they might return home.

The injured firefighters, who had responded to an initial call to deal with a burning truck, suffered burns and other injuries.

Authorities also spoke of damage amounting to millions of euros. Juergen Schmitt, a local policeman, said arson had not been ruled out.

The initial tank blast was so strong it was heard kilometres away. It exploded with such force that other tanks of gas were launched throughout the town - one crashed through the wall of a warehouse 700 metres away.

Some were reportedly on fire, with at least one spewing flammable liquid into a field.

"I call this a catastrophe," said Mayor Harald Loeffler.
Read more on:    germany

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