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IOC fire: Firefighters struggle hard to bring Hazira fire under control

Wind intensity and direction is feared to cause fire to spread to second tank

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A major fire that broke out at Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)'s in Gujarat, remained uncontrolled till late evening on Saturday. Over 40 fire tenders from nearby cities were brought in to take control over the fire, which had broken out at the tank no. 4 in the afternoon.

"Over 40 fire tenders from places like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Ankleshwar, Bharuch have been deployed. Since, it is a petroleum fire, it takes time to come under control. However, we are making all efforts to keep the fire restricted to one tank," Pankaj Patel, chief fire officer, Surat said this evening. The reason of fire is still not known.

"There are chances of fire to spread to nearby tank as wind intensity is high and the distance between the two storage tanks is about nine meters. Hence, there is a possibility that fire can spread to the next tank," he said. No casualties have been reported so far.

Fire experts and officials of disaster and risk management team from Vadodara have also rushed at the site of the incident.

"We are trying to restrict the fire at one tank. But wind is making the task difficult. We are using all techniques to keep the adjoining tanks cool so that temperature does not rise there," said N Srikumar, ED (CC & Branding), IOC.

"A fire occurred in the Motor Spirit (MS) tank of IOC's bulk storage terminal at Hazira around 1 pm today. The MS tank No. 4 which caught fire had about 5,000 kiloliters (kl) of MS against its total capacity of 9,600 kl," a company statement said.

"Fire tenders are also being mobilised from all sources in the neighbourhood, including IOC's Koyali Refinery," it said.

The entire area has been cordoned off and rail wagons containing MS have also been moved out of the facility.

"The cause of the fire is not yet known and there is no report of casualty so far. A high-level team has been constituted to investigate the cause of the fire," the company stated in the statement.

A team of senior company officials from Mumbai head office and Ahmedabad have rushed to the spot.

It may be noted that in October 2009, a devastating fire had broken out at an IOC's fuel storage and distribution terminal on the outskirts of Jaipur, killing at least 10 people and injuring many others.

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