Blaze rips through chemical plant near Venice, residents warned to block windows with damp rags to stop TOXIC SMOKE (VIDEOS)

© Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS
An explosion at a chemical plant in the industrial zone of Malcontenta, near Venice, has triggered a major emergency response operation, with residents asked to shelter in place and block their windows with damp rags.

At least one worker was seriously injured at the chemical plant, after a tank reportedly exploded at approximately 11.30am local time on Friday morning.



A thick column of black smoke was visible across the city and lagoon.


Firefighters and biohazard response units from Venice and Treviso are currently on scene, with multiple ambulances, helicopters and special rescue teams deployed to the site. 
A security cordon has been established and transport detours have been put in place. People have been advised to avoid the area and the mayor urged residents to block their windows with damp rags.
Police have issued a shelter-in-place red alert, with sirens wailing to warn the local population to remain indoors. 

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