Huge explosion rips through oil refinery in Spain near Gibraltar sending plume of ‘toxic black cloud’ into the sky
- Fire broke out at a petrochemical plant in San Roque, Andalusia, southern Spain
- Homes within a 30-mile radius evacuated as potentially toxic fumes from flames
- A state of emergency declared by the authorities as firefighters battles blaze
- Emergency services find tackling inferno difficult due to flammable materials
A fire has broken out at an oil refinery in Spain sending thick smoke billowing into the sky that could be seen for miles.
The fire reportedly started at the petrochemical plant in San Roque, Andalusia, this afternoon at around 3.10pm local time.
A plume of smoke was seen rising over the Bay of Gibraltar as a result of the blaze from the plastics producing premises owned by Indorama.
A state of emergency was declared by authorities as the plant contains highly flammable products, according to local media.
The blaze broke out at the oil refinery in San Roque, Andalusia, where homes within a 30-mile radius were evacuated
Black smoke could be seen from miles away across the Bay of Gibraltar (left). Authorities called a state of emergency as the billowing fumes were potentially toxic
Houses within a 30 miles (50km) radius of the plant have been ordered to be evacuated due to the potentially toxic fumes.
Cars were left covered in a ‘black ash’ as the ‘very dangerous chemicals are burning’, Spanish media reported.
Algeciras city council activated its emergency response plan and neighbouring authorities are expected to follow suit.
Juan Carlos Ruiz Boix, the mayor of San Roque, told the Gibraltar Chronicle emergency services were finding it hard to extinguish the blaze.
The nature of the highly flammable material being stored inside the warehouse was making tackling the flames difficult.
Firefighters from nearby Campo, around 20 miles away, and workers from another local refinery have reportedly been sent to the scene to help battle the inferno.
Firefighters found extinguishing the flames difficult due to the flammable material being stored inside the plant
The refinery in San Roque, Andalucia, produces plastics and other materials. Cars were reportedly left covered in black smoke
San Roque is also expected to declare a state of emergency, local media reported.
No reports of injuries have yet been received and a cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
Gibraltar authorities said the fire was unlikely to affect the British Overseas Territory, despite residents being told to close their windows doors as a precaution.
A statement to Olive Press read: ‘HM Government of Gibraltar has been monitoring the plume,’ it said in a statement.
‘The majority of it is to the west of Gibraltar over the sea. The smaller and higher element of the cloud is above the height of the Rock.
‘Under current meteorological conditions, there is no cause for concern.
‘We will continue to monitor the situation and to update the public accordingly.’