The day the sky caught fire: Huge blaze breaks out at Indonesian oil refinery in electrical storm

The skies above an Indonesian village erupted into a raging inferno this morning following an explosion at one of the country’s biggest oil refineries.

Firefighters have battled to control the flames at the Balongan refinery in West Java since the early hours of this morning.

Plumes of thick black smoke have been seen towering into the sky from the refinery, which produces 125,000 barrels a day and is operated by state oil company Pertamina. 

At least five people have been seriously injured, with 15 other suffering less serious injuries and emergency services are currently searching for three other people.

The skies above an Indonesian village erupted into a raging inferno this morning following an explosion at the Balongan refinery in West Java

The skies above an Indonesian village erupted into a raging inferno this morning following an explosion at the Balongan refinery in West Java

The skies above an Indonesian village erupted into a raging inferno this morning following an explosion at the Balongan refinery in West Java

Firefighters have battled to control the flames at the Balongan refinery in West Java since the early hours of this morning

Firefighters have battled to control the flames at the Balongan refinery in West Java since the early hours of this morning

Firefighters have battled to control the flames at the Balongan refinery in West Java since the early hours of this morning

Flames tear into the skies above the Balongan oil refinery in Indonesia following a massive explosion at the site. The cause of the explosion is not yet known but it is believed to have taken place during an eletrical storm

Flames tear into the skies above the Balongan oil refinery in Indonesia following a massive explosion at the site. The cause of the explosion is not yet known but it is believed to have taken place during an eletrical storm

Flames tear into the skies above the Balongan oil refinery in Indonesia following a massive explosion at the site. The cause of the explosion is not yet known but it is believed to have taken place during an eletrical storm

Plumes of thick black smoke have been seen towering into the sky from the refinery, which produces 125,000 barrels a day and is operated by state oil company Pertamina

Plumes of thick black smoke have been seen towering into the sky from the refinery, which produces 125,000 barrels a day and is operated by state oil company Pertamina

Plumes of thick black smoke have been seen towering into the sky from the refinery, which produces 125,000 barrels a day and is operated by state oil company Pertamina

One person died from a heart attack following the refinery explosion, according to the local disaster agency. 

Emergency services worked to temporarily relocate around 1,000 local residents from the area to two evacuation centres as the fire broke out. 

In a statement, Pertamina’s president director Nicke Widyawati said: ‘To prevent the fire from spreading we’ve shut down operations … and are putting our efforts into handling the blaze.’

Nicke also said that while efforts to put the blaze out were ongoing, the fire had been contained to a small area. 

The cause of the fire was not clear, but the company said the blaze broke out around midnight during a lightning storm and that there had been heavy rain at the time of the massive explosion. 

At least five people have been seriously injured, with 15 other suffering less serious injuries and emergency services are currently searching for three other people

At least five people have been seriously injured, with 15 other suffering less serious injuries and emergency services are currently searching for three other people

At least five people have been seriously injured, with 15 other suffering less serious injuries and emergency services are currently searching for three other people

Emergency services worked to temporarily relocate around 1,000 local residents from the area to two evacuation centres as the fire broke out

Emergency services worked to temporarily relocate around 1,000 local residents from the area to two evacuation centres as the fire broke out

Emergency services worked to temporarily relocate around 1,000 local residents from the area to two evacuation centres as the fire broke out

The cause of the fire was not clear, but the company said the blaze broke out around midnight during a lightning storm and that there had been heavy rain at the time of the massive explosion

The cause of the fire was not clear, but the company said the blaze broke out around midnight during a lightning storm and that there had been heavy rain at the time of the massive explosion

The cause of the fire was not clear, but the company said the blaze broke out around midnight during a lightning storm and that there had been heavy rain at the time of the massive explosion

A pillar of thick black smoke can be seen towering into the sky above the oil refinery this morning as firefighters continue to try and put the fierce flames out

A pillar of thick black smoke can be seen towering into the sky above the oil refinery this morning as firefighters continue to try and put the fierce flames out

A pillar of thick black smoke can be seen towering into the sky above the oil refinery this morning as firefighters continue to try and put the fierce flames out

Police confirmed to Reuters that the West Java police would be involved in the investigation into the explosion. 

Pertamina said it did not expect the fire to cause fuel supply disruptions due to the high volume of stock it has on hand and the company’s director Mulyono said the firm hopes to restore operations at the refinery within four or five days.

The sprawling refinery is about 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the capital Jakarta and processes crude oil from the Duri and Minas fields in Riau province and supplies fuel to the capital and the western regions of Java island.

Pertamina will use fuel from its other refineries in Cilacap and Tuban to help provide supplies to Jakarta while Balongan is shut, Mulyono said. 

Pictured: Indonesian military personnel stand guard along a road near to the Pertamina oil refinery in Balongan this morning as emergency services continue to tackle the blaze

Pictured: Indonesian military personnel stand guard along a road near to the Pertamina oil refinery in Balongan this morning as emergency services continue to tackle the blaze

Pictured: Indonesian military personnel stand guard along a road near to the Pertamina oil refinery in Balongan this morning as emergency services continue to tackle the blaze

The sprawling refinery is about 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the capital Jakarta and processes crude oil from the Duri and Minas fields in Riau province and supplies fuel to the capital and the western regions of Java island

The sprawling refinery is about 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the capital Jakarta and processes crude oil from the Duri and Minas fields in Riau province and supplies fuel to the capital and the western regions of Java island

The sprawling refinery is about 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the capital Jakarta and processes crude oil from the Duri and Minas fields in Riau province and supplies fuel to the capital and the western regions of Java island

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