Explosion and fire at Dutch Shell chemical plant

The BBC's Anna Holligan says the priority will be to minimise environmental damage, after a similar explosion in 2011

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A fire triggered by an explosion at a Shell chemical plant in the Netherlands has been brought under control.

Television footage showed flames and smoke pouring from the plant in Moerdijk, south of Rotterdam.

Fire crews managed to extinguish the blaze in the early hours of Wednesday, officials say.

Two people suffered minor burns, but the cause of the blast - heard from more than 30km (20 miles) away - remains unknown.

A spokesman for Shell told the BBC that the factory was in operation 24 hours a day but that all personnel who were on site at the time had been accounted for.

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The mayor of Moerdijk, Jan Klijs, said there appeared to have been a leak of benzene, but it was not yet known whether it was methylbenzene or ethylbenzene.

Local media quoted residents as saying the ground "shook like an earthquake".

The local authority announced on Wednesday morning that the fire had been extinguished. It withdrew earlier advice for people living nearby to keep windows and doors closed.

The factory makes oil-based chemicals for use in products that range from car components to insulation materials.

The Shell complex is close to another chemical factory that was hit by a serious fire in 2011, Dutch media said.

That blaze sent a plume of toxic smoke across a wide area, causing a health alert.

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