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Refinery fire injures five in Indonesia, hundreds evacuated

29 March 2021

An oil refinery fire in West Java, Indonesia on March 29 injured five people and forced the evacuation of hundreds of local people. The blaze at Indonesian state oil company Pertamina’s Balongan refinery burnt through the night and could be seen from several miles away.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

The fire is reported to have occurred in the facility’s storage tanks, however the cause is unknown. The blaze did not affect the plant’s processing equipment. Some media outlets report that the incident happened during bad weather and that a lightning strike may be to blame. Pertamina said in a statement that the cause remains under investigation and that it hoped to restore operations at the 125,000 barrels per day plant within a week.

In its statement, Pertamina asked local residents to remain calm, and stay away from the location of the fire. When the incident occurred, there were 5 residents who were passing by, so they suffered burns and were immediately referred for intensive care at the Indramayu Hospital, it added. No Pertamina employees were injured, the company said.

Firefighters tackled the fire through the night after it was reported at around 00:45 local time and managed to contain it to a small area of the plant by sunrise. Footage posted on social media shortly after the fire broke out shows a significant blaze burning at the Balongan refinery. Further images posted after sunrise showed a large black plume of smoke rising into the sky.

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