Daily News Archive
From September 25, 2001

Agricultural Chemical Plant Explosion in France

According to CNN, a petrochemical plant explosion in Toulouse, France on Friday left 17 people dead and 240 injured. The plant is owned by AZF, France's largest producer of agricultural chemicals, and produced such toxins as ammonium nitrate. The explosion caused two chimneys to collapse, and a cloud of smoke to drift over the town. Fearing the dust might be toxic, officials directed people to stay indoors. Emergency workers protected themselves with gasmasks.

The blast, which disrupted phone lines resulting in an evacuation of the airport and subway system, was felt throughout the whole town. Car windows were blown out and houses trembled.

Officials would not comment on the cause but contend the explosion was an accident. There was an ammonia explosion at this same plant in 1998. The European Union has classified the site as high-risk. Extra security precautions are now a necessity.

Read the story at http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/09/21/france.explosion/index.html