Flames and thick smoke rose after an explosion at a biodiesel plant in Rioja, Spain. The cause is still unclear, further explosions cannot be ruled out.

Two people have died in an explosion and subsequent fire at a biodiesel factory in the northern Spanish region of La Rioja.

The factory and the entire El Recuenco industrial area in the municipality of Calahorra were evacuated immediately after the emergency on early Thursday afternoon, reported the newspaper “El Día de La Rioja” and other media, citing the security authorities. In addition, around 250 children who had taken part in a school trip nearby had already been taken to safety.

A thick plume of black smoke and flames could be seen from afar after the explosion, according to video footage and photos released by media and social media. All available police and fire brigade units have been sent to the factory to fight the fire and provide security measures, the Calahorra municipality said. The area should be avoided as further explosions cannot be ruled out. The cause of the explosion, which occurred in Calahorra around 300 kilometers northeast of Madrid around 1 p.m., initially remained unclear.