Oil Refinery in Indonesia Catches Fire, Prompting an Evacuation

“The cause of the fire is not known with certainty, but at the time of the incident, it was raining heavily accompanied by lightning,” the company said in a statement.

Ifki Sukarya, a Pertamina spokesman, said three giant storage tanks had caught fire and, nearly 10 hours later, crews were still trying to extinguish the blaze and keep it from spreading to a fourth tank.

All five people who were injured lived near the refinery, he said. Residents reported a strong smell of fuel, which caused some people to become ill.

Two years ago, the company was responsible for another disaster when crude oil leaked from an offshore well and contaminated a 12-mile stretch of West Java shoreline between the refinery and Jakarta. Environmentalists criticized the company for acting too slowly to contain the spill.

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