Huge fire engulfs Indonesian oil refinery, 20 injured

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29 March 2021, Indonesia, Indramayu: Smokes cover the sky after a fire in an oil refinery in Indonesia's West Java province. The fire broke out just after midnight during a thunderstorm, injuring 20 people and prompting the evacuation of nearly 1,000 residents. Photo: Donal Husni/ZUMA Wire/dpa
Photo: Donal Husni/ZUMA Wire/dpa

dpa/GNA – A fire broke out at an oil refinery in Indonesia’s West Java province on Monday, injuring 20 people and prompting the evacuation of nearly 1,000 residents, officials said.

The fire erupted just after midnight (1800 GMT) during a thunderstorm, said Ifky Sukarya, spokesperson for PT Kilang Pertamina Internasional, a subsidiary of the state-owned energy giant Pertamina.

“The cause of the fire is still unknown, but at that time it was raining hard accompanied by lightning,” he said. “We are focusing on extinguishing the fire.”

A total of 20 people were injured, including five seriously. Additionally, three people are not accounted for, said Dodi Dwi Endrayadi, the head of the local civil protection agency.

Four students who were walking past the area when the blast happened were injured with serious burns.

Three people were missing after the explosion threw them into a rice field, Dodi said, citing information from witnesses.

A resident died of an apparent heart attack after the blast, but was not injured in it, he added.

The fire hit a tank at the refinery, which has been shut down to prevent the flames from spreading, Pertamina said.

The team has succeeded in isolating and cooling the area around the flashpoint, said Pertamina spokesperson Agus Suprijanto.

“The fire has been localized. Therefore, it will not spread to the surrounding area,” said Agus, adding that 10 fire engines were deployed.

Pertamina chief executive Nicke Widyawati had sought to allay concerns about fuel supply.

“There are no obstacles in fuel supply as the main processing plant was not affected,” she said.

“The refinery will be operational again immediately when the fire has been put out,” she said in a statement.

Nearly 1,000 residents living near the Balongan refinery in Indramayu were evacuated, district chief Nina Agustina said.

She told Kompas TV the blaze had started to subside.

Local fire department official Suyanto told website iNews that a lightning strike might have sparked the fire.

“There was an explosion. It was raining with thunder,” the iNews website quoted Suyanto as saying.

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