The severe explosion in the Leverkusen hazardous waste incineration plant with seven dead could have been triggered by a chemical reaction of the waste.

According to the Cologne District Government, a first interim report by an expert shows that a chemical reaction of the waste with increasing temperature has probably led to a rapidly increasing overpressure in the storage tank.

Despite the safety systems of the tank, this overpressure could no longer be reduced.

The bursting of the tank was then probably followed by an ignition of the explosion cloud and thus the ensuing fire.

Investigations continue

Before final conclusions can be drawn from the event and the resulting consequences, further investigations by the expert would have to be awaited, according to a statement from the district government on Monday.

She had ordered a safety check.

The Chempark operator Currenta then commissioned an expert to determine the cause of the fire and explosion.

When and in what form the interim report can be published is currently being clarified with the public prosecutor because of the ongoing proceedings and with Currenta with regard to trade and business secrets.

Seven people were killed in the explosion in Leverkusen on July 27th. 31 people suffered some serious injuries. The public prosecutor's office in Cologne has initiated an investigation against unknown persons on suspicion of negligent homicide and negligent causing of an explosion. She wants to find out whether human errors have led to the disaster.