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Posted On: Jun. 27, 1999 12:00 AM CST

WUPPERTAL, Germany-Property damage from a recent explosion and fire at a Bayer A.G. plant is estimated at nearly $70 million, but business interruption losses are not expected to be high.

The June 8 accident occurred at an insecticide production facility in Wuppertal, Germany. An investigation found that the explosion resulted when employees added the wrong chemical to a compound in a vat, according to a Bayer spokes-man. The investigation, conducted jointly by Bayer and local authorities, released its findings a week after the accident.

Thirty Bayer workers and 20 individuals living nearby were treated at a local hospital for respiratory ailments and eye irritation; all have been released. No serious injuries were reported. Local streetcar and train connections were interrupted for most of the day by the explosion and fire.

Property damage from the accident initially has been estimated at 130 million deutsche marks ($69.3 million), according to Bayer's lead property insurer.

Bayer has a 10 million deutsche mark ($5.3 million) deductible for property damage, according to

Gilbert van den Eynde, who is Bayer's risk manager, based in Leverkusen, Germany.

The chemical and pharmaceutical giant insures its property risks and most of its business interruption losses with a consortium of insurers led by Cologne, Germany-based Gerling Group, said a spokesman for Gerling.

Insurers initially feared that Bayer's business interruption losses would exceed total property damage, but Bayer said the facility was due to have been shut down in a few years. The company said the facility will be torn down and not rebuilt.