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Spanish refinery blast kills 3

From CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman

A blast at Repsol's oil refinery in A Coruņa in Spain's northwest last April injured four people.
A blast at Repsol's oil refinery in A Coruņa in Spain's northwest last April injured four people.

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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- An explosion at a Repsol-YPF oil refinery south of Madrid has killed at least three people and injured seven others.

The blast occurred in the city of Puertollano, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) south of Madrid shortly after 8 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) on Thursday.

Those injured, six of which were in a serious condition, have been rushed to hospitals, Repsol spokesman Manuel Hermogenes told CNN.

The company ruled out terrorism as a cause of the explosion and also said the extreme heat wave affecting Spain had not been a factor.

Instead, Hermogenes said, the initial cause was thought to be an accidental explosion in the area of the fuel tanks, although it was not immediately known if the blast occurred in a fuel tank.

Repsol-YPF is Spain's largest oil company and a major multinational firm in the sector.

The dead and injured were either Repsol employees or workers for firms that Repsol contracts.

The plant's production process was immediately halted. It refines 150,000 barrels of crude oil daily into gasoline for automobiles and other petroleum products, Hermogenes said.

The plant is one of five Repsol refineries in Spain.

The complex consists of an oil refinery section, where the explosion occurred, and also a petrochemical section which produces chemical products, which was unaffected.

The material damage was limited to the plant complex itself, and did not affect the nearby town of Puertollano, with a population of about 50,000 people, Hermogenes said.

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