A major fire broke out in a gigantic petrol tank of Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) Hazira depot near Surat on Saturday at noon. There were no casualties but it is estimated that there was loss of around 5 lakh litres of petrol which was stored in the tank. The cost of the petrol is estimated to be around Rs3.5 crore.
“The fire has been isolated,” a company official said. “A high-level team has been constituted to investigate the cause of the fire but our first priority is to put out the fire and efforts are being made on a war footing.”
There are nine such fuel tanks in the same depot and at least 20 lakh litres of highly inflammable substances including petrol, kerosene and diesel are presently stored in the other eight tanks. At least 25 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the fire. While the local administration rushed fire brigade personnel from Surat and nearby cities, IOC sent fire tenders from its Koyali refinery to douse the fire.
Around 200 firefighters from Surat, Navsari, Olpad and Valsad and all nearby industries were engaged in the firefighting process. Senior IOC officials have rushed to Hazira to supervise operations and an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the fire. A senior team from the Mumbai office too rushed to the site of the accident.
Hazira is a so-called ‘white-oil terminal’, housing a tank farm to store petrol and diesel. It has five petrol storage tanks and four diesel tanks.
This is the second major fire at IOC storage depots since 2009. On October 29, 2009, a fire broke out at its Jaipur terminal which was blamed on non-observance of normal safety procedures. The Jaipur depot fire raged for 11 days, killed 11 people and resulted in losses worth Rs280 crore.