Watch Oil Refinery Blow Up After Possibly Getting Struck by Lightning
Early Monday morning, March 29, massive black plumes of smoke and raging fires could be seen ballooning into the sky above Indonesian oil refinery Balongan in West Java.
State-run oil firm Pertamina said the blaze occurred overnight on Sunday 28 March, with the entire oil refinery closing its doors on Monday morning.
The blaze has injured five people so far, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported, with no injuries reported from the oil refinery's staff. Nearly 1,000 local residents living nearby have been evacuated for safety measures. Nearby residents have been breathing the pungent air and oil fumes, hence why most have been evacuated.
The cause of the blaze is still unknown, but speculations that lightning struck the oil barrels during a storm on Sunday night are circulating. Dramatic drone footage of the fire has been shared on Reddit, and social media sites, which is enough to make you gulp for air.
The blast was so massive that the explosion could allegedly be heard from over 100 miles away, Futurism says.
What the oil refinery is doing now
The facility, which the SCMP says usually operates 125,000 barrels of oil a day, is carrying out "oil flow control" to stop any further spread of the fire.
The processing plant of the oil refinery has not been affected, so refinery operations may not be hugely impacted. The fire was instead concentrated in the refinery's storage units.
Balongan refinery processes crude oil, and then supplies fuel to the country's capital, Jakarta, as well as the western regions of Java Island, where it's located.
As the cause of the blast is still unknown, an investigation will be carried out, with local police joining, a police spokesperson told the SCMP.
To keep fuel supplies working steadily, Pertamina's Central Java refinery, Cilacap, will take over the reins in the meantime. However, if repairs take too long, fuel supply to the community could be hindered.