Visakhapatnam: A fire broke out at one of the crude processing units (CDU-III) of the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited's (HPCL) Visakha Refinery at the Malkapuram area in Vizag at 3 pm on Tuesday. Heavy smoke was seen coming out of the area even from a distance leading to panic among the residents of Malkapuram and surrounding areas. The blast that led to the fire was loud enough for people in the nearby areas to come out of their homes in panic.

Fire tenders and Indian Navy personal rushed to the spot and managed to extinguish the fire and began cooling operations. There were no casualties and there is no risk to the public, said officials. The other refinery operations are continuing as normal. The police too rushed to the spot and are monitoring the operations, inquiring about the number of workers at the unit at the time of the incident.

The exact reason is yet to be ascertained. As per preliminary information, six workers in the unit managed to save their lives, however, the police suspect some workers might have been injured. Residents of the city have witnessed such incidents in 1997 when 22 persons died in a blast at HPCL, and in 2013 when over 25 persons were killed. In another incident on 30 July 2017 lightning struck a crude oil tank on the HPCL premises and created panic among the public. But, this did not result in any casualties or injuries.

In a statement, the authorities said, "A fire incident occurred in one of the crude processing units of HPCL's Visakh Refinery at 3pm on 25th May 2021. Safety measures & firefighting was activated immediately. The fire has been extingushed. There is no casualty and no risk to public".

Other Refinery operations are normal

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