Indonesian firefighters battle days-long oil refinery inferno

JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesian firefighters were working on Wednesday (March 31) to put out a large blaze at one of the country’s biggest oil refineries that has been burning for more than two days after an explosion rocked the facility.

Crews blasted fire-suppressing foam on two still-burning storage tanks to quench the inferno that severely injured at least six people early on Monday.

Thick plumes of black smoke shot into the sky at the Balongan refinery in West Java, owned by state oil company Pertamina.

By Wednesday, two of the tanker fires had been extinguished.

“Pertamina is focused on extinguishing fires at the two other tankers,” it said in a statement.

About a thousand locals have been evacuated from the area.

The cause of the fire was not clear, but the company said the blaze broke out during a lightning storm.

The local disaster agency said one person had died from a heart attack after the explosion.

Six severely wounded people have been hospitalised in the capital Jakarta, about 200km from the sprawling plant, which opened in the mid-90s and can refine some 125,000 barrels of oil a day.

At least 30 others suffered minor injuries.

Pertamina has insisted the fire is not likely to cause fuel supply disruptions due to a high volume of stock.

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