Hundreds evacuated after fire at Indonesian oil refinery

Edna Tarigan
Associated Press
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Jakarta, Indonesia – More than 900 people from a nearby village were evacuated after a massive fire broke out early Monday at the Pertamina Balongan Refinery in Indonesia’s West Java province, officials said.

About 20 people were injured, including refinery workers and several villagers who suffered burns while passing through the area, the local disaster mitigation agency said.

Motorists ride past as thick smoke billows from a fire that razes through Pertamina Balongan Refinery in Indramayu, West Java, Indonesia, Monday, March 29, 2021.

Nicke Widyawati, chief executive officer of state-owned oil and gas corporation Pertamina, said firefighters were still battling the blaze and attempting to cool down the area to prevent it from spreading.

The cause of the fire was still being investigated, she said at a news conference. Pertamina officials said there was lightning and heavy rain at the time the fire broke out.

Cars pass by as fire razes through Pertamina Balongan Refinery in Indramayu, West Java, Indonesia, early Monday, March 29, 2021. Hundreds of people were evacuated from a nearby village after the massive fire broke out at the refinery.

Satellite images from Planet Labs Inc. analyzed by The Associated Press showed a massive plume of black smoke rising from the refinery over the nearby village. The fire appeared localized at a set of four tanks in the middle of the refinery.

The Balongan plant has a refining capacity of about 125,000 barrels of crude oil a day. It supplies fuel to Jakarta, Banten and some regions of West Java.

In this satellite photo released from Planet Labs Inc., a plume of smoke rising over the Pertamina Balongan Refinery in Indonesia's West Java province Monday, March 29, 2021.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 912 residents were staying at three evacuation centers.

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Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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