Coking plant blast leaves three critically injured

Tomasz Wiktor/PAP

Three people were left in a critical condition and three others injured when a blast ripped through a coking plant in southern Poland on Thursday.

The incident occurred at the Koksownia Przyjazn facility in Dabrowa Gornicza, near Katowice.

"An explosion occurred in the furnace's coal chamber," the fire brigade's press officer, Brig. Karol Kierzowski, told PAP. "As a result of the blast the furnace and part of the hall building were destroyed."

The injuries sustained were mostly burns, Kierzowski added, explaining that six workers had been in the hall at the time of the explosion.

A local ambulance service official told PAP the injuries of three of the workers were life-threatening.

"All the injured people have reached hospital," Klaudiusz Nadolny, director of the Sosnowiec regional ambulance service, told PAP. "Two of them were taken by helicopter to St Barbara's hospital in Sosnowiec and to the Katowice-Ochojec hospital. The remaining four patients were transported by ambulance, one to Dabrowa Gornicza, one to Czeladz and two, with extensive burns, to the Burns Unit in Siemianowice Slaskie."

Sixty firefighters and 15 vehicles attended the incident, although there was no fire following the explosion.

The plant belongs to one of Poland's biggest mining companies, JSW, which is "the largest producer of high quality hard coking coal in the European Union," according to its website.