A chemical explosion in Catalonia kills one and injures six

A massive explosion at a petrochemical plant in the northeastern Catalan region of Spain has killed one person and gravely injured at least six others.

The blast in the port city of Tarragona sent a column of black smoke into the sky and prompted local authorities to warn people in surrounding areas to stay inside as a precaution.

One person was killed when the shockwave generated by the explosion caused a building to collapse, local media reported.

Another person was missing, TVE broadcaster said.

The Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez’s office said he was in touch with Catalan authorities and that Madrid was ready to “provide the necessary support due to this serious event, which has caused several injuries and substantial material damage”.

A spokesman in Catalonia’s rescue services, which provides disaster relief in the region, confirmed someone had died in a nearby building that collapsed, adding that it could not confirm yet if this was linked directly to the explosion or fire.

The fire was now contained, the spokesman said, adding that two people suffered severe burns, another victim sustained less severe burns and three had light injuries.

Around 20 fire trucks, 11 emergency medical service vehicles and a helicopter attended the incident.

The civil defence agency advised people nearby to stay inside with doors and windows shut as a precaution, but added: “There is no evidence of a toxic cloud.”

Local trains between Tarragona and neighbouring Port Aventura were suspended on police orders, the train operator Rodalies de Catalunya said, while the regional transport authority said some roads had been closed.

The affected company is Industrias Quimicas del Oxido de Etileno, the fire brigade confirmed.