• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Bremen chemical blast damages 40 homes

DPA/The Local · 10 Sep 2014, 08:24

Published: 10 Sep 2014 08:24 GMT+02:00

The explosion at 9pm the Organo Fluid chemical waste facility was heard for kilometres around as its pressure wave shattered nearby doors and windows and stripped off roofs.

“Just when we were thinking about what that might have been, the first emergency calls came in,” said Bremen fireman Karl-Heinz Knorr.

The fire - around 15 kilometres north of Bremen - destroyed the premises of a specialist waste disposal company and some nearby homes. Flames could be seen lighting up the sky for miles around.

Around 350 members of the emergency services were deployed to respond to the blast. Firemen were pumping up to 7,500 litres of water per minute onto the blaze.

Police said that one employee of the company was badly wounded and was taken to hospital. "He had severe burns and was not responsive," a police spokesman said.

At least two other people suffered less serious injuries and another employee of the company is believed to be missing. The missing man has been identified as a 60-year-old from nearby Osterholz-Scharmbeck. He had gone into the building to investigate a technical error just before the explosion. Investigators have only found his car outside the factory.

Several people in homes nearby also suffered cuts from flying glass and 20 were brought into a hastily-assembled treatment centre.

Between 30 and 40 houses were affected, with some standing just 20 metres from the centre of the blast. Some are in danger of collapse.

Train services were suspended on a nearby track as overhead cables were damaged. 

All nearby buildings have been evacuated and a large area surrounding the fire has been cordoned off by the police. Many residents in the town of just over 14,000 people were standing on their balconies or joining groups gathering in the street. All were asking why the company had been allowed to operate so close to their homes.

“We were always worried about that company,” said Ritterhude mayor Susanne Geils. “I knew immediately that something had happened in the neighbourhood and where it must have been.”

Story continues below…

People in the area have protested in the past against the facility. In 2010, the Weser Kurier newspaper reported that people in the town were concerned about flammable substances being stored in the facility.

Emergency services will sift through the wreckage on Wednesday and investigate the cause of the explosion.

SEE ALSO: Drunk man attempts to torch petrol station

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd