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Big fire at a chemical factory in northern France will burn for days

A fire broke out in the early hours of Thursday at a French chemical factory, Lubrizol plant in Rouen, Normandy.

An immense mass of black smoke is rising. Panic broke out in the vicinity of the factory. Regional police said initial tests gave no indication of serious toxins in the air and there are no reported victims. However strong smell could be felt outside and causes nausea and pulmonary discomfort. All began with an explosion. Residents had been sharing videos of oil residue on the streets, on their cars and on plants in their gardens.

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The plant produces additives for lubricants and paint. People of 12 surrounding municipalities were asked to stay home, while schools in the area will remain closed. The administration for the Seine-Maritime region urged people to avoid non-essential travel in the area. There were risks to pollute the Seine river which runs near the site of the accident. Around 200 firefighters were tackling the blaze at the site on Thursday. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the fire had been contained but was not completely extinguished. "It will take several days," he added. The cause of the fire is being investigated. The company didn’t comment on the fire.

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