It was one of two separate blasts at plants owned by BASF. Several people have been reported injured or missing.
At about 8.30 in the morning a gas explosion injured four people at the company’s Lampertheim facility.
The second blast three hours later caused a fire at the plant at Ludwigshafen on the river Rhine, about 50 kilometres south of Frankfurt.
It’s the company’s headquarters and the world’s largest chemical complex.
“As the first emergency crews arrived it was immediately clear where the location was. Together with the company’s own fire crew and a fire engine boat, we were able to contain the blaze. Right now there is still some residue in the pipes burning off,” said the head of the fire department, Peter Friedrich.
BASF said at least one person was killed, with six injured.
The Ludwigshafen site’s chief said six people were still missing.
The company is investigating what caused the explosion.
Several facilities near the blast site were shut down for safety reasons.
City authorities advised people in the surrounding area to avoid going outside but the company has since said there is no danger to the population. (Euronews)