The person was killed when a building collapsed as a consequence of the shockwave generated by the explosion in Tarragona province, media including La Vanguardia and El Pais newspapers said on their websites.
Another person was missing, TVE broadcaster said.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s office said he was in touch with Catalan authorities and that Madrid was ready to “provide the necessary support due to this serious event, which has caused several injuries and substantial material damage”.
A spokesman in Catalonia’s rescue services, which provides rescue services and disaster relief in the region, confirmed someone had died in a nearby building that collapsed, adding that it could not confirm yet if this was linked directly to the explosion or fire.
The fire was now contained, the spokesman said, adding that two people suffered severe burns, one less severe burns and three had light injuries.
Around 20 fire trucks, 11 emergency medical service vehicles and a helicopter attended the incident. TV footage showed a large fire with black smoke billowing above it.
The civil defence agency advised people nearby to stay inside with doors and windows shut as a precaution, but added: “There is no evidence of a toxic cloud.”
Local trains between Tarragona and neighbouring Port Aventura were suspended on police orders, the train operator Rodalies said, while the regional transport authority said some roads had been closed.
The affected company is Industrias Quimicas del Oxido de Etileno, the fire brigade said.
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