Indonesian state energy firm Pertmina apologized for a fire at a Jakarta fuel storage depot that it said killed at least 18 people, including two children, as residents discovered the remains of their charred homes on Saturday.
Dozens of people were also injured and police said three people were still missing after Friday night’s fire broke out at the Plumpang depot in Pertamina, North Jakarta. Authorities called on Saturday for an audit of “all fuel facilities and infrastructure” in Indonesia.
Pertamina, which controls most of Indonesia’s fuel and energy distribution, publicly apologized for the fire.
Pertamina director Niki Vidyavati said in a televised news conference, “The management and I would like to express our deepest apologies for this incident. None of us expected this incident to happen.”
Thirty-five people are still being treated, many with severe burns, while more than 1,300 people living in residential areas near the depot had to be evacuated. The death toll had increased by one during the day.
Selamat, who bears the same name as many Indonesians, told AFP: “What I saw was smoke going from left to right, about 10 minutes later there was an explosion and the fire spread and engulfed the houses.” “
Vice President Maroof Amin visited the site on Saturday and suggested that the depot should be moved away from residential areas.
“I hope this depot can be moved … so it will be safe and the area will be rearranged so that it meets the needs of an appropriate neighborhood in the capital.”
National police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the fire started when fuel from another refinery was being reloaded.
“Due to a technical glitch, there was excessive pressure and then the fire broke out. The source of the fire is being probed,” he said.
Top officials have called for an investigation into the cause of the fires and an audit of Indonesia’s energy facilities after a series of recent fires.
Sugeng Superwoto, head of parliament’s energy commission, told local broadcaster Metro TV on Saturday: “After the number of fires we have … it is clear that we need to audit all fuel facilities and infrastructure, especially tanks and refineries.” should do.”
A huge fire broke out in 2021 at the Balongan refinery in West Java, owned by Pertamina and one of the largest such facilities in Indonesia.
The same depot caught fire in 2009 and again in 2014, when it spread to 40 nearby houses. No casualty has been reported in both the cases.
State-owned Enterprises Minister Eric Thohir said in an Instagram post late on Friday: “I instructed Pertmina to investigate the matter immediately and we are now focused on helping people. An operational assessment will be carried out in the future.” Should be.”
Homes piled against the barbed wire fences of the Pertamina facility were destroyed and the morning after the fire broke out blackened, rows of cars burned.
A child stood amid the rubble, surveying the scorched scene as emergency workers carried one of the dead in a body bag.
“It was like a bomb, it was like a mini apocalypse. It was unimaginable,” said Jamilul Asrour, 45, who called on authorities to move residents away.
“Pertamina is getting careless. This depot is too close.”
In footage broadcast on Friday night, people could be seen screaming and running through narrow streets as flames shot into the sky behind them.
A fireball can be seen in the sky over northern Jakarta, with sirens wailing in the background.
Pertamina’s Vidyavati said Indonesia’s fuel supply has not been disrupted.
Jakarta’s acting governor Heru Budi Hartono said the government would pay for the treatment of the injured.
The North Jakarta Red Cross said they helped 342 people by setting up four tents for the displaced.
Linda, a mother of one, said she had lost everything and just the clothes on her back after fleeing with her family.
“I can’t return home because it’s completely ruined,” she told Metro TV.
“I don’t even know what condition it is in, and I don’t know where to go now.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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