At least 17 dead including two kids as Indonesia oil depot fire engulfs homes
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A huge fire has torn through an Indonesian neighbourhood killing at least 17 people, including two children.
The blaze, which began at an oil depot on Friday in the densely populated Tenah Merah area of North Jakarta, has also left dozens more injured.
Thousands of people in the region have already been evacuated from their homes, whilst local television footage showed many more running away to escape the enormous flames.
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The fuel storage station, which is operated by a state-run oil and gas firm Pertamina, supplies around a quarter of the entire nation's fuel.
According to officials, at least 260 firefighters and 52 fire engines had been called to the incident, but were struggling to contain the inferno.
The result of preliminary investigations showed the fire started when a fuel pipe ruptured during heavy rain – and possibly from a lightning strike in the view of area manager Eko Kristiawan.
"I have ordered Pertamina to immediately investigate this case thoroughly," said the Minister of State-Owned Enterprise Erick Thohir via his Instagram page.
"There must be an operational review," he added.
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Sugeng Suparwoto, meanwhile, who leads the country’s parliamentary energy committee, has called for an audit of all of Pertamina’s facilities.
"All facilities, whether refineries or storage, must be audited again," he said on KompasTV.
He added: "For a facility with Plumpang’s capacity, there should be at least one to two kilometres distance with residential area."
The fire marks the second of its kind at the depot, following a similar incident in 2014 that saw flames engulf 40 nearby properties.
Energy analyst Fahmi Radhi has now urged Pertamina and the Indonesian government to move the depot away from the nearby community settlements immediately.
"Pertamina has been negligent by not using international standard security systems," he said.
"Pertamina's board of directors should be held responsible for this deadly fire by being dismissed immediately."
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