Fire chief Stephan Neuhoff said Tuesday that the fire department was able to quell the flames during the night, at what they say was the largest fire in the city since World War II. Some 1,200 fire department workers were on the scene, supported by the German Red Cross and technical relief organizations. Autobahn and public transport closures in the area were also reopened Tuesday morning.
According to the Cologne fire department, several people were transported to hospitals for treatment of skin and eye burns. Buildings surrounding the plant have been evacuated. Costs of damage have not yet been released.
Ineos said the fire likely started from a leak in an ethylene holding tank. The defective tank released an explosion some 15 metres high, igniting a fire in another nearby tank full of poisonous acrylonnitrile.