Cologne (dpa) – After the severe explosion in the Chempark in Leverkusen on July 27, an investigation is now underway against three employees. It is about the initial suspicion of negligent homicide and negligent causing of an explosive, said a spokeswoman for the Cologne public prosecutor on Tuesday. The apartments of the three accused and one other employee were searched on Tuesday. Data carriers, cell phones and written documents were secured.
The three accused are suspected of having violated their duties of care in connection with the storage and treatment of the waste. Seven people were killed in the explosion in a hazardous waste incinerator. 31 suffered injuries, some of them serious.
In connection with the investigation, the police visited the business and operating rooms of the operator Currenta on Tuesday. The company voluntarily released the documents required by the investigating authorities in good time.
According to the information, there is a suspicion that the waste stored in a tank was stored above the permissible self-heating temperature. According to a preliminary assessment by an expert, this may have led to warming, which led to an exponential rise in temperature and pressure. As a result, the tank finally exploded. As a result of the explosion, residual waste liquids and fuel oil previously discharged into the tank could possibly mix with air. This is what finally led to the fire.
The accused will now be given a fair hearing, said the prosecutor’s spokeswoman. It will show whether they wanted to comment on the allegation. In addition, witnesses would be heard and the documents seized would be evaluated. In addition, the previous preliminary expert opinion must be finalized. You have to show yourself whether there will be charges.
Currenta emphasized in a statement that it was very interested in clarifying the causes of the explosion. The company works closely with the investigative authorities. “Until the end of the procedure, there must be no prejudgment of our colleagues,” said Currenta managing director and labor director Wolfgang Homey. The presumption of innocence applies to those accused of a preliminary investigation.
“The accident will be investigated as fully as possible,” promised. “From this we draw the necessary conclusions for the future safe operation of the hazardous waste incineration plant.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211019-99-652301 / 3