Death toll rises to 17 in Indonesia’s Pertamina fuel depot fire

At least 17 people were killed when a fire broke out at an oil refinery operated by Indonesia’s state-owned Pertamina in the capital Jakarta on Friday, an official at the fire department said.

The fire, which broke out after 8:00 p.m. (1300 GMT), set fire to some buildings and caused panic among residents of the crowded area, some of whom fled with belongings, media footage showed. A Pertamina spokesperson said on Friday evening that the fire had been extinguished at around 10:30 p.m. Fire was still visible near the residences afterward, a fire department official said on the department’s Instagram account.

Two of the dead were children, while 50 people were injured including a child, said Rahmat Kristanto, fire department manager. Most of the injured have burns and the government will pay for their medical care, Jakarta’s acting governor Heru Budi Hartono told reporters.

Shortly after the fire broke out, explosions could be heard in videos shared on social media, although Reuters was unable to verify the videos. Around the warehouse, residents crowded around as firefighters carried orange body bags from the fire. Jakarta’s Disaster Mitigation Agency said residents of a nearby mosque were evacuated. Siswandi, who is 21 years old, said that the place was “complex, as we ran around people who were half burnt, and it caused panic among the people”, adding that he was taking books all of it is precious to his home.

Jakarta’s main call center said it had dispatched 51 units to Plumpang district in North Jakarta, adding that the fire was large. Pertamina said in a statement that the cause of the incident is still being investigated and evacuation efforts are ongoing.

The company said that fuel is supplied to the Jakarta area as it plans to source from other ports. Pertamina CEO Nicke Widyawati apologized for the fire and said he would “reflect internally to prevent something like this from happening again”.

The gas station has a capacity of more than 300,000 kiloliters, according to the country’s energy agency.

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