Massive fire in a refinery in Indonesia

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Jakarta | A large fire broke out on Monday at one of Indonesia’s largest refineries whose site was ravaged by flames, said the disaster management agency, which reported injuries.

Firefighters were still struggling to contain the blaze several hours after the fire started early Monday at the Balongan refinery in western Java Island, some 200 km from the capital Jakarta.

Images from the site showed an oil complex in flames and a vast plume of black smoke high in the sky.

The toll in the morning was “five people seriously injured, fifteen with minor injuries and three people still wanted,” said the national disaster management agency.

A thousand residents had to be evacuated and the local disaster management agency reported one death due to a heart attack after an explosion.

“We have stopped operations to prevent the fire from spreading (…) and we are making every effort to control the flames,” said Nicke Widyawati, general manager of the public oil company Pertamina in charge of the site.

The cause of the fire was not determined at this point but the company said the fire started during a heavy thunderstorm with lightning.

Pertamina does not however expect disruptions in the supply of hydrocarbons to the Southeast Asian archipelago thanks to a high volume of stocks.