Fuel storage depot fire in Jakarta kills 17, injures dozens

PHOTO: A fire broke out at a state-owned fuel storage facility in Jakarta. (via FMT)

A fire that broke out at a state-run fuel storage depot in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta yesterday has claimed at least 17 lives and injured dozens of others. The blaze, which started after 8pm local time, was brought under control several hours after it began.

While the cause of the fire is yet to be determined, army chief of staff Dudung Abdurachman confirmed that at least 42 people were injured, including three children between the ages of three and four who are in serious condition. The densely populated neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the facility were evacuated.

The depot is operated by state energy firm Pertamina, and the company has said that it is focused on handling the fire and evacuating workers and residents nearby to safer locations. Pertamina’s CEO Nicke Widyawati has vowed to conduct a full internal evaluation to prevent similar events in the future.

The Indonesian government has also pledged to help financially with the treatment of the injured.

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Following the massive blaze at a state-run fuel storage depot in Indonesia’s capital on Friday, both the military and Pertamina are investigating the cause of the blaze. This marks the second fire at a facility operated by the company in as many years.

In March 2021, a huge fire tore through one of the country’s largest oil refineries, the Pertamina-owned Balongan refinery in West Java. The fire burned for two days and caused a huge explosion, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people.

Videos on social media captured terrified people screaming as they fled through narrow roads while a huge fire seen burning behind them. The footage hasn’t been fully verified yet though.

While the cause of the fire remains unclear, initial reports received by the firefighters suggest that a burst pipe at the depot may have caused the fire. Jakarta’s main fire station raced to dispatch over 250 firefighters and 51 units to the Plumpang depot in north Jakarta. Officers worked quickly trying to contain the fire before it could spread into the nearby residential neighbourhoods.

Erick Thohir, the country’s minister of state-owned enterprises, put out a statement of condolences for those killed and injured, calling on Pertamina to conduct a full investigation into the incident. Acting Jakarta governor Heru Budi Hartono also told broadcaster Kompas TV that investigations would be ongoing to determine the exact cause of the fire.


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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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