Indonesia: Massive FireBreak Out at Oil Refinery

Firefighters in Indonesia were working to place out a huge fire that had broken out at one of the country’s largest oil refineries.

The fire broke out at the Balongan refinery, travel by state oil firm Pertamina, at 00:45 local time on Monday (17:45 GMT Sunday).

At least five people were injured and around 950 residents were evacuated to safety. A couple of individuals were reported missing.

The cause for the blaze remained unclear.

TV footage and videos on social media showed the firewas raging on Monday morning with a plume of smoke rising high above the refinery, located in West Java province.

“We smelled a robust fuel scent first, so strong that my nose hurt, while we heard lightning strikes,” one nearby resident told a local news outlet.

According to the regional disaster management agency, five people were being treated in hospital for serious burns with another 15 for minor burns.

The injured were both nearby residents and other people who were on a road near the refinery when the fire broke out.

Residents from a close-by village were evacuated to many different camps with the relief efforts further complicated by Covid-19 measures.

Pertamina said the cause for the fire was unknown, but that it started during heavy rain and lightning.

In a news conference later on Monday, the firm said the hearth had not damaged the refinery’s processing capabilities which operations could hopefully return to normal within the next five days.

The oil firm also said it had been shutting down the refinery and conducting “oil flow control” to stop any longer spread.

The Balongan refinery which is found approximately 200km east of the capital Jakarta and measures a minimum of 340 hectares, can process 125,000 barrels per day.

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