Fire at Indonesia's Pertamina fuel storage station kills 17

March 4, 2023 10:22 am

[Source: Reuters]

At least 17 people were killed when a fire broke out on Friday at a fuel storage station operated by Indonesia’s state energy company Pertamina (PERTM.UL) in the capital Jakarta, an official at the city’s main firefighting unit said.

The fire, which started after 8 p.m. local time (1300 GMT), burned some houses and sent nearby residents in the densely populated areas into a panic, some of whom fled with their belongings, footage from broadcasters showed.

A Pertamina spokesperson said late on Friday that the fire had been extinguished at about 10.30 p.m.

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Fire was still seen around residents’ houses after that, a firefighting station official said on the unit’s Instagram account.

Two of the fatalities were children, while 50 people were injured including one child, according to Rahmat Kristanto, an official at the firefighting unit.

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.

Shortly after the fire started, explosions could be heard in footage shared on social media, although Reuters was not able to authenticate the clips.

Near the storage station, residents crowded the area while firefighters carried orange body bags from the fire. Jakarta’s disaster-mitigation agency said residents had been evacuated into nearby mosques.

Siswandi, a 21-year-old resident, said the scene “was chaotic, as we were running away alongside injured victims who were half burned, and it caused panic among people,” adding that he was taking all of his valuable documents from his house.

The call centre of Jakarta’s main fire station said it had dispatched 51 units to the Plumpang area in North Jakarta, adding that the fire was huge.

Pertamina said in a statement that the cause of the incident was still being investigated and that evacuation efforts were ongoing.

The company said the fuel supply for the Jakarta area remained secure as it planned to divert supply from other terminals.

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 kilo-litres, according to the country’s energy ministry.