Italy declares state of emergency after Austrian gas plant blast

Explosion at OMV Gasstation in Baumgarten

"Eighteen people are injured and one is dead", Lower Austria police chief Markus Haindl said in the wake of an explosion at a Austrian OMV oil and gas company's natural gas depot in Baumgarten.

"We can't say much ..."

Local police have urged citizens to avoid the scene and "follow instructions" from the authorities.

"With the restart of operation on the global pipeline systems, it will be possible to resume transit through Austria, thereby restoring security of supply for the affected countries", Gas Connect Austria said.

A spokesman for the fire brigade said a number of cars in the vehicle park had melted due to the heat and six buildings were on fire.

A home has been destroyed after a reported gas blast
A home has been destroyed after a reported gas blast

An explosion and fire at Austria's Baumgarten gas hub will temporarily reduce gas transit via Ukraine and slightly affect gas supply from Europe to Ukraine, gas transport monopoly Ukrtransagaz said on Tuesday. This terminal, located to east of Vienna, is main center of supply and transfer of natural gas that arrives from Russian Federation and is pumped to Germany and Italy, which is main receiver.

The plant at Baumgarten is one of Europe's key gas distribution points and as a result deliveries were quickly thought be in danger.

A major European gas distribution hub resumed operations early Wednesday after an explosion knocked it offline, cutting off gas supplies to several countries.

Slovakia's main gas transit route to Austria was suspended after the fire, Slovak pipeline operator Eustream said.

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