At least 17 killed including two kids and thousands evacuated as raging inferno rips through oil depot in Indonesia
AT least 17 people including two kids have been killed and thousands evacuated as a raging inferno ripped through an oil depot.
Dozens of people have been injured as the blaze spread throughout houses in a nearby neighbourhood in Indonesia.
At least 260 firefighters and 52 fire engines struggled to contain the fire at a fuel storage station operated by state energy company Pertamina in the capital Jakarta.
Footage showed hundreds of people living close by running in panic while thick plumes of black smoke and orange flames filled the sky.
Thousands of residents living in the densely populated Tanah Merah neighborhood had to be evacuated as firefighters battled the huge blaze.
At least 17 people were killed including two children while 50 people were injured including one child, Rahmat Kristanto, an official at the firefighting unit, said.
Most of the injured people suffered from burns and the government will pay for their medical treatment, Jakarta’s acting governor Heru Budi Hartono told reporters.
Satriadi Gunawan, who heads Jakarta’s fire and rescue department, said the fire caused several explosions and quickly spread to residential houses
According to a preliminary investigation, the fire broke out when a pipeline ruptured during heavy rain, possibly from a lightning strike Eko Kristiawan, Pertaminas area manager, said.
The Plumpang fuel storage station, operated by state-run oil and gas company Pertamina, supplies 25 per cent of Indonesia’s fuel needs.
Kristiawan said the fire would not disrupt the country’s fuel supply.
Indonesia’s minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Erick Thohir, ordered Pertamina to thoroughly investigate the fire and focus on quickly assisting the community.
He said: “There must be an operational evaluation in the future. I’ll continue to monitor this case.”
The fire broke out shortly after 8pm local time (1pm GMT) and was extinguished by 10.30pm.
Pertamina chief executive officer Nicke Widyawati apologised for the fire and said it would “reflect internally to avoid similar incidents from ever occurring again”.
The fuel station has a capacity of over 300,000 kilolitres, according to the country’s energy ministry.
Friday’s fire was the second large blaze at the Plumpang fuel depot.
In 2014, a fire engulfed at least 40 nearby houses, but no casualties were reported.
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