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At least three dead after blast at Italian plant

At least three people have died and four are missing after a fire and explosion underground at a hydroelectric power plant in northern Italy, the local mayor said.

Italian utility group Enel said that a fire had broken out on one of its transformers at its hydro power plant in Bargi, close to Bologna in early afternoon.

The fire brigade said earlier that an explosion had occurred around 3:00pm (2pm Irish time) at a dam on Lake Suviana which is one of three artificial lakes that feed the power station.

Marco Masinara, the mayor of the nearby town of Camugnano said three dead bodies had been found and four were missing, while three were “badly hurt” and had been taken to hospital.

He added that the numbers were “being updated”.

Enel said it had evacuated workers from the site and was coordinating with rescue workers from the fire department.

Mr Masinara said a fire broke out below ground level, adding that “the plant is all below the level of the lake, at about 30 metres’ depth”.

He told Italy’s Ansa news agency that initial information suggested that work was being done on a turbine at the time of the incident.

“I have been told that the fire brigade are trying to get access but are having difficulties,” he added.

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