Explosion at French Chemical Plant


PARIS ā€” A huge fire at a Normandy chemical plant spewed a mass of black smoke over a wide region Thursday, prompting French authorities to shut down roads and schools and order people to stay indoors as firefighters battled for hours to contain it.

No injuries have been reported in the blaze, and the cause is under investigation. The Interior Ministry said the fire was under control by early afternoon, about 12 hours after it broke out, but not yet extinguished.

The Lubrizol plant in the medieval city of Rouen is among the highest-risk industrial sites in Europe, part of a system called Seveso that requires such facilities to have additional security measures because they handle dangerous substances.

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