French Petrochemical Explosion Kills At Least 2

By: Alfred De Montesquiou AP Email
By: Alfred De Montesquiou AP Email

PARIS (AP) - An explosion Wednesday at a petrochemical plant in
eastern France killed at least two people and injured at least five, leaving several people buried under the rubble, local officials said.

The Moselle regional government said the blast occurred at a plant belonging to the French oil and gas giant Total in Carling-Saint-Avold, near the border with Germany.

The regional fire and rescue department for Moselle said a machine that breaks up saturated hydrocarbon molecules exploded at about 3 p.m. local time. The machine produced 250,000 tons of ethylene a year, the fire department said.

Calls to Total were not immediately answered Wednesday. According to Total's Web site, the Carling-Saint-Avold factory is linked by a pipeline network to most of the firms' refineries. The plant produces basic hydrocarbons and some plastic, Total said.

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