Death toll rises to two in Spanish chemical plant blast


MADRID, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Firefighters have found the body of a second victim following a massive explosion and fire at a chemical factory in northeastern Spain, they said on Wednesday.

The explosion in Tarragona a day earlier left another eight injured, rescue officials said, and the fire continued to burn on Wednesday.

While the blaze has been brought under control, local authorities said on Twitter they had yet to identify the second victim: “There is structural risk in the area and work is being done to stabilise the area and safely reach the victim.”

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.”

The plant is operated by petrochemicals firm Industrias Quimicas del Oxido de Etileno (IQOXE), a producer of ethylene oxide, a highly flammable gas used to make, among other things, ethylene glycol used in computers and vehicles.

An employee of IQOXE, which is owned by Spain’s CL Grupo Industrial SA, declined to comment when contacted by phone on Wednesday.

The civil defence agency, which initially advised people nearby to stay indoors as a precaution, said air quality tests carried out Wednesday had not shown any risk. (Reporting by Inti Landauro and Paola Luelmo, writing by Ashifa Kassam; editing by Jason Neely)