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Spain Chemical Plant Blast Cloaks Towns in Toxic Cloud

Spanish Town Under Toxic Cloud 0:33

A blast at a chemical plant cloaked a region in northern Spain in a huge orange toxic cloud on Thursday, according to local reports. Three at the plant some 30 miles from the city of Barcelona were injured in the explosion, which also forced some 60,000 people in the surrounding communities to remain confined indoors for hours, La Verdad newspaper reported.

The explosion at the installation owned by Simar — which distributes and stores chemicals, according to its website — occurred at 9:45 a.m. (3:45 a.m. ET), the newspaper reported. Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

Officials ordered school and university students to remain indoors and said parents should not pick them up, news website 20 Minutes reported. Pregnant women, children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems were told to remain indoors even after the general warning was lifted, according to La Verdad.

The blast appeared to have been caused by two chemicals coming into contact during delivery to the plant, the regional government of Catalonia said in a statement, Reuters reported.

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Photo Gallery: Giant Toxic Cloud Hangs Over Spanish Town
- F. Brinley Bruton and Alex Smith