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A huge explosion has rocked the German city of Leverkusen – with a massive cloud of smoke seen in the sky.

The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) has warned the public to close their windows and to stay inside as fears dangerous gasses from Chempark Leverkusen have leaked mount.

Its warning app, Nina, urged people in the district of Bürrig to go inside and close all doors and windows.

It said: "Explosion in Bürrig, warning level: extreme danger

"Close your doors and windows, go inside buildings, only call 112 if you have information on the events."

A huge cloud of smoke appears over the German city after the explosion

Chempark has urged residents to go inside and keep windows and doors closed.

In a tweet, the company said: "For a previously unknown cause, there was an explosion in the Chempark Leverkusen. Plant fire brigade and air test vehicle in action. Residents please go to closed rooms and keep doors and windows closed."

It is understood a large cloud of black smoke can also be seen from Cologne – which is around 18km away from Leverkusen.

According to the Cologne fire brigade, there is currently no danger in the city area.

Officers from the service are on-site to investigate the situation. Local news services have reported that police are blocking roads in the area where the explosion has happened.

People living in the area have warned others to take care as the incident is dealt with.

One social media user said: "A Bayer waste incineration plant in Leverkusen blew up about 10-15 minutes ago. If you are around, take care."

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