An enormous explosion rocked a major natural gas hub in Austria on Tuesday, killing an employee, injuring at least 18 people and raising concerns about tightening supplies across Europe.
Firefighters and emergency workers rushed to the natural gas hub in Baumgarten, about 45 miles south of Vienna, after the blast occurred just before 9 a.m., ordering an evacuation of the site. The fire was brought under control within hours, the state police in Lower Austria said.
Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the governor of Lower Austria, which includes Baumgarten, ordered the local authorities to investigate the cause of the explosion. Gas Connect Austria, which operates the facility, said the cause appeared to be technical.
The Baumgarten station, Austria’s largest entry point for natural gas, receives the product from Russia and Norway for inspection and compression, and then sends it to Austrian and other pipelines. Baumgarten operations were suspended after the explosion.
Natural gas flows to Austria remain secure, Gas Connect Austria said after the blast, but the company warned that flows to other countries could be disrupted.