News What is known and unknown about the deadly explosion...

What is known and unknown about the deadly explosion of petrochemicals in Tarragona


The Chemical Industries of Ethylene Oxide (IQOXE) company of the southern petrochemical estate, in La Canonja, Tarragona, on Tuesday afternoon
loud explosion
that resulted in two dead and eight injured, three of them seriously. This is what is known and what is not known about the incident so far:

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Where and when was the explosion recorded?

The detonation took place at 6:41 p.m. in a 20-ton tank filled with ethylene oxide from the IQOXE company in the city of Tarragona.

What were the causes?

At the moment it is unknown what triggered the serious explosion. The Government has announced that it is investigating whether the petrochemical company followed the industrial safety protocols.

The fatalities

The explosion caused the death of an employee of the plant, whose body has been located this Wednesday morning and has already been rescued, and that of a neighbor of the Torreforta neighborhood of Tarragona that was reached by the top of the reactor. The man was at home, at number 7 of García Lorca square, when the 800-kilogram plaque entered through the building's window. The projectile caused the fall of the floor of a floor and that of the roof of the one below and killed the man, a 59-year-old fruit bowl.

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Why didn't the sirens sound?

Civil Protection was responsible for the sirens sound to confine the citizens of the populations near the petrochemical. According to the agency's deputy director, Sergi Delgado, they were not activated because the company did not follow the information protocols and it was difficult to assess the scope of the situation.

Although at some point it was valued to sound the sirens by the accumulated smoke and the uncertainty of the information received about the plant, it was ruled out after the Firefighters verified that there were no serious risks to the outside of the chemical enclosure.

The IQOXE company: was everything in order?

IQOXE is a producer of ethylene oxide, a highly flammable gas used to manufacture, among other things, ethylene glycol, used in computers and vehicles. The company had 135 employees. The industrial complex was opened in 2017 and the same company opened a block in July. In the town hall there is no record opened by the activity of the company.

Sources from the Department of Enterprise of the Generalitat have explained to Efe that a first documentary analysis seems to indicate that it complied with the regulations in force, but that the file must certify it.

Was there a toxic cloud?

Initially, Civil Protection ordered the confinement of several municipalities in fear that the smoke generated by the serious fire could be toxic. Subsequently, the preventive confinement order was reduced only to the municipalities of La Canonja and Vila-seca. This Wednesday, technicians from the Ministry of Environment have made measurements of toxic in the air in the area and all the results have been negative.


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