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Two injured in Shell plant blaze in the Netherlands

A massive explosion at a Shell oil plant in the Netherlands followed by a fire left two people injured Wednesday, authorities said.

THE HAGUE: A massive explosion at a Shell oil plant in the Netherlands followed by a fire left two people injured Wednesday, authorities said.

"Their injuries are minor," said regional officials on their Twitter account, adding that the explosion happened during a shift change.

Jac Klijs, the mayor of Moerdijk, southeast of the Netherlands' main port of Rotterdam where the factory is located, said the two had suffered burns.

He expected them to be discharged from hospital early Wednesday.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.

Local radio and television network Omroep Brabant quoted residents as saying that "two powerful bangs" rocked the area around 10:45 pm (2045 GMT).

The ground "shook like in an earthquake", they said.

A huge flame shot up from the site and was visible kilometres around but the Moerdijk mayor, quoted by ANP news agency, said the smoke was not dangerous.

Authorities did advise people in the area to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

All road and river traffic near the site was suspended.

Anglo-Dutch Shell's 320-hectare chemical plant makes oil-based chemicals for use in synthetic fibres, paints and antifreeze, among others.

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