Images shared on social media showed a huge smoke cloud rising into the sky. The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) warned the public to close their windows and to stay inside amid fears of dangerous leaked gasses. One person tweeted they felt their house shake in Bergisch Gladbach, which is around seven miles away from Leverkusen.
They tweeted: “Bayer … Or ???
“We noticed it all the way to Bergisch Gladbach… The house shook.”
Someone else said their “windows were still vibrating” and tweeted: “My windows were still vibrating in GL.
“Now I hear warning sirens. Bayer?”
The warning app, Nina, urged people in the district of Bürrig to go inside and close all doors and windows.
It said: “Explosion in Bürrig, warning level: extreme danger
“Close your doors and windows, go inside buildings, only call 112 if you have information on the events.”
They urged people to listen to the local radio station and avoid the affected area.
According to local reports, the first indication is that the explosion happened at a garbage incineration plant in Bürrig.
The fire brigade also asked for help to keep the emergency number free.
A large cloud of black smoke can also be seen from Cologne – which is around 18km away from Leverkusen.
According to the Cologne fire brigade, there is currently no danger in the city area.
Officers from the Cologne fire brigade are on-site to investigate the situation.
The local radio station Radio Leverkusen says it happened at around 9.30 local time.
But they said they cannot send reporters to the scene as they do not know if some “dangerous substances” may have been leaked.
They said: “Currently it is still not clear what kind of gasses might have escaped, we will keep you updated.”
There are currently no reports of any injured people.
But the huge explosion could be felt all the way to Bonn – around 41km away from Leverkusen.
According to Western German Broadcaster, witnesses said the large column of smoke can be seen rising over the premises of the Bayer chemical company.
Bayer is a German multinational pharmaceutical and is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
More to follow…