Nine people have died and 43 were injured in an explosion that virtually destroyed the plant and headquarters of thermoformer ICL Plastics group in Glasgow, Scotland.
The cause of the blast, which rocked the mixed industrial and residential area May 11, remains a mystery. Some survivors suggested the explosion occurred near one of four industrial ovens, two gas-fired and two electric, used in a coating process.
A major operation immediately was mounted to try to rescue at least five employees believed to be buried in the remains of the four-story building.
A team of 120 emergency workers, 15 fire engines and two navy helicopters were involved. Rescuers, many used to working in earthquake zones, used thermal imaging equipment, hydraulic supports and search dogs to locate possible survivors. But as the search neared its end, only bodies were recovered from the rubble.
The premises housed two ICL subsidiaries: ICL Tech Ltd., a vacuum former, fabricator and coater of toughened plastic products including riot-control shields, batons and protective wear; and distribution firm Stockline Plastics Ltd.
The plant specialized in making toughened plastic screens used in hospitals, for security companies and in the meat trade.
Those named by police as having died in the disaster include Stockline Managing Director Stewart McColl and the firm's financial controller, Margaret Brownlie.
In a statement a day after the explosion, ICL expressed deep shock and offered its condolences to the injured and families of those killed.
``ICL Plastics Ltd. and Stockline Plastics Ltd. are cooperating with the emergency services in their efforts to locate every person who was in the building.''
Industrial safety experts have suggested that the presence of polymer and metal dust in the plant may have contributed to a fire risk.
Questions also were being asked about any volatile chemicals being used in the plant and whether the building was suitable to sustain an internal explosion without collapsing.
Britain's health and safety agency has said it will investigate the blast.