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At least 17 killed in fire at Indonesia fuel storage depot


Two children are among the victims and 50 other people have been hospitalized, some with serious burns, the fire service says.

A fire at a fuel depot in Indonesia’s capital killed at least 17 people, injured dozens more and evacuated thousands of local residents.

Officials said at least 260 firefighters and 52 fire engines struggled Friday to contain the blaze at a fuel storage station owned by state-run oil and gas company Pertamina, near a densely populated area in North Jakarta’s Tanah Merah district.

Satriadi Gunawan, head of the Jakarta fire and rescue service, said people living in the residential area were still being evacuated and taken to a nearby village house and mosque.

“The fire caused several explosions and quickly spread to residential homes,” Gunawan said.

He said at least 17 people were dead, including two children, and 50 were hospitalized, some with severe burns.

A preliminary investigation showed that the fire broke out when a pipeline ruptured during heavy rainfall, possibly from lightning, said Eko Kristiawan, area manager of Pertamina.

Although the station supplies 25 percent of Indonesia’s fuel needs, he said the fire would not disrupt the country’s fuel supply.

Firefighters battle the blaze at Pertamina fuel depot in Jakarta (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

Indonesia’s state-owned enterprise minister, Erick Thohir, expressed his condolences to the victims and their families and ordered Pertamina to thoroughly investigate the blaze and focus on helping the community quickly.

“There should be an operational evaluation in the future. I will continue to monitor this case,” Thohir said in a video statement.

Nicke Widyawati, Pertamina’s chief executive officer, apologized for the fire, saying it would “think internally to prevent similar incidents ever happening again”.

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

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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