Four people sustained light to moderate injuries Wednesday evening after a fire broke out at an Agan chemical plant in Ashdod that houses flammable substances.
All four were taken to Kaplan hospital in Rehovot for treatment.
Employees of a nearby plant have been evacuated from the area, and rescue services personnel warned people living in the surrounding areas to stay indoors until further notice.
Entry and exit points to Ashdod, with the exception of those in the southern part of the city, have also been closed.
One eyewitness who works at a car-rental service told Channel 10 news, "I went downstairs to get a car and saw fire blazing and then an explosion, literally across the street. I ran away with the man who came to return the car. I saw something that looked like fireworks?an unpleasant sight."
Boaz Rakia, a firefighter who arrived at the scene, said the fire was exceptional both in its size and scope. He added that large numbers of firefighter crews are working to extinguish the blaze.
In August 2007, the Agan chemical plant in the Ramat Hovav industrial zone shut down one of its facilities in the wake of a chemical explosion at the plant that lightly injured nine people.
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