A fire at a chemical plant on the outskirts of Ritterhude, Germany has been extinguished after several hours and several people reported injured.
Variously reported as a chemical waste facility and a paint and solvents factory, the blast was noted at about 9 pm, local time, and was heard from kilometres away, according to the BBC.
Associated Press and others report that one person was severely burned and was pulled from wreckage.
According to News Corp network writers, there were subsequent explosions and one employee is missing, with over 300 firefighters dispatched to the site.
There are also local fears about the toxicity of the thick smoke, with firefighters wearing breathing protection.
Over 14,000 residents have been urged to stay inside and prepare for evacuation, according to News Corp.
Image: Sky News