Fire at IOC Hazira terminal contained, one more killed
Firefighters work to douse flames at a storage tank of the state-owned Indian Oil Corporation in Hajira near Surat on Sunday. | AP

Three persons were killed in the fire that broke out in a storage tank of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) terminal at Hazira, near here, on Saturday. The fire was contained after a 21-hour operation, officials said on Sunday.

“The body of one more person was recovered this afternoon [Sunday]. While two persons, whose bodies were recovered earlier, have been identified, we are trying to identify the third,” Surat Collector Jayprakash Shivhare told PTI. “All the three persons… are not regular, but contractual employees.”

Operation to continue

The fire was brought under control after more than 24 hours. “However, the entire operation may continue for some more time. Till the Controller of Explosives concludes that chances of another fire are not there, we will continue our operation,” he said.

The Hazira facility has nine tanks. Tank no. 4 had almost 5,000 kl of petrol, half of its capacity, when it caught fire.

Petrol burnt out

“Fire brigade personnel did a commendable job, restricting the fire to one tank,” Mr. Shivhare said.

“The petrol in the tank has almost burnt out by now, while we managed to ensure that the fire did not spread to other tanks by constantly spraying water and foam on them…”

“We marshalled all the resources at our disposal. The fire brigades from all big cities and nearby towns of Gujarat were called in. Fire tenders of private companies were also summoned,” he said.

Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, who visited the site in the afternoon, said a high-level probe was ordered and a report was expected by January 20.

He also announced Rs. 5 lakh in compensation for the kin of the deceased.

This is the second major fire at the IOC storage depots since 2009. On October 29, 2009, a fire broke out at the Jaipur terminal. It was attributed to the failure to follow safety procedures.

The fire raged for 11 days, killing 11 people and resulting in a loss of Rs. 280 crore.

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