Around 1,400 people were evacuated from their homes in Germany, authorities said on Tuesday, after a chemical accident at a factory run by Kraft Foods Inc. (IW 500/25) created a cloud of poisonous gas.
The accident, in the small town of Bad Fallingbostel, near Hanover in northern Germany, happened on Monday when employees accidentally poured acid into a tank containing sodium hydroxide solution, causing a chemical reaction.
Some 700 firefighters were called in to cool the container amid rising temperatures and fears of a possible explosion. Technical experts were trying to pump out the acid.
The alert was lifted by mid-afternoon and residents could return to their homes, according to firefighters and local officials.
No one was injured in the incident.
"There has at no time been any danger for the population because we decided, along with the authorities, to evacuate as a precautionary measure," company spokesperson Heike Hauerken told rolling news channel N24.
Production was halted as soon as the accident took place, she added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012