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(LEAD) Blaze breaks out in Incheon chemical recycling plant

All Headlines 17:58 April 13, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info throughout)

INCHEON, April 13 (Yonhap) -- A chemical processing plant west of Seoul has caught fire, blanketing the area with thick, dark smoke and potentially leaking toxic substances, firefighters said Friday. No casualties have been reported.

The blaze started at around 11:50 a.m. in a chemical recycling factory in Incheon. A witness made the call to the emergency services saying "pillars of dark smoke are surging" from the plant.

All four of the workers on the premises escaped the building before the fire spread. One fireman suffered an injury to his ankle, and a fire truck was gutted by the blaze after it caught fire.

The fire caused two factory buildings with a combined area of about 285.6 square meters to burn down and six other buildings nearby to catch fire. Several cars that had been parked close by were also damaged.

Fire authorities mobilized 430 firefighters and 80 vehicles in the area to put out the blaze. It has mostly been brought under control, they said.

They issued a third-phase warning, the highest level of alert, in the area and sent warning messages to residents.

Thick and toxic fumes hindered firefighters from making their way into the factory, the authorities said. They evacuated about 300 workers from nearby buildings.

Police said they are investigating the exact cause of the accident. Officials from the plant have told them that a waste oil container suddenly caught flame when the workers were moving it for processing into alcohol and acetone.

The industrial complex to which the factory belongs houses nine companies, mostly dealing with oil waste processing.

Thick smoke is seen coming out of a chemical plant that has caught fire in Incheon, west of Seoul, on April 13, 2018. (Yonhap)


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