Ludwigshafen, Germany — The death toll from a fire at BASF SE's Ludwigshafen headquarters plant has risen to two people, with a third person still missing.
In an Oct. 18 news release, BASF said two employees from its fire department died as a result of the Oct. 17 fire at its North Harbor area, eight people were seriously injured and 17 others suffered minor injuries. In addition, six other people were treated at a BASF emergency room during the night.
The company did not say if the person still missing was also a firefighter.
The fire was extinguished at about 9:30 p.m. Oct. 17.
“We are deeply saddened that two employees have died,” said Margret Suckale, a member of the BASF board and industrial relations director, in a written statement. “As firefighters, they were devoted to saving lives. Our deepest sympathy lies with the affected people and their families.”
The fire followed an explosion on a pipeline, and the burned pipelines included ones with ethylene and propylene.
Both the BASF and Ludwigshafen fire department worked to extinguish the fire, and both were on scene Oct. 18 to perform cooling and safety measures, BASF said. Firefighters are drawing water from the Rhine River, but the water is being fed into the company's wastewater treatment plant to ensure no contamination leaks from the area.
Because the raw material supply of ethylene and propylene still are being interrupted, the steamcrackers at Ludwigshafen remain shut down. The fire also is affecting production at 20 other plants, which are either shut down or partially running.