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A call for security checks as a fuel depot fire kills 13 in Indonesia | News

A call for security checks as a fuel depot fire kills 13 in Indonesia |  News

A firefighting official said two children were among the victims and 50 others were taken to hospital, some with severe burns.

Indonesian officials have called for an investigation and audit of the facilities of state energy company Pertamina after a fire at its fuel storage station killed 13 people.

The fire broke out around 8 pm (01:00 GMT) on Friday from a fuel pipe at the Pertamina fuel storage depot in the capital Jakarta, quickly spreading to nearby homes and sending residents in the densely populated area into a state of panic.

The authorities initially estimated the death toll at 17, but later revised it to 13. Dozens were injured and hundreds evacuated. Abdul Wahed, an official with North Jakarta firefighters, said the fire was put out in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“I have ordered Pertamina to investigate this case thoroughly,” State-Owned Enterprises Minister Eric Thuhir said on his Instagram page.

“There should be an operational review,” he added.

Sojing Subaruto, who heads the country’s parliamentary energy committee, has called for a review of all Pertamina facilities.

“All facilities, be it refineries or storage, must be reviewed again,” he said on KompasTV, noting that Pertamina has often had fire accidents at its facilities. Sujing also said there should be more distance between storage depots in Pertamina and residential areas.

“For a facility with the capacity of Bloomang, there should be at least one to two kilometers of distance with the residential area,” he said.

Plumpang, with a storage capacity of more than 300,000 kiloliters, is one of the largest gas stations in Pertamina.

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Firefighters battle a fire at the Pertamina fuel depot in Jakarta [Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]

Local residents said they could smell the fuel about 30 minutes before the fire started, Abdul Sikur, who lives nearby, told KompasTV.

“The smell was so strong that people vomited and some fainted,” he said.

Pertamina district manager Eko Kristiawan said preliminary investigation showed the fire started when a pipeline snapped during heavy rain, possibly from a lightning strike.

While the station provides 25 percent of Indonesia’s fuel needs, he said the fire will not disrupt the country’s fuel supply.

Minister Zaheer expressed his condolences to the victims and their families. Pertamina CEO Nicke Widyawati also apologized for the fire and said the company would “think internally to avoid similar incidents from happening again”.