An oil refinery in Birjand, a city located in eastern Iran, caught on fire Sunday morning, causing several massive explosions.
“The fire has spread to all 18 reservoirs of the Birjand economic special zone’s refinery, and the intensity of the flames has increased,” Iranian Republic News Agency (IRNA) Governor Ali Fazeli said.
The governor stated that three of the reservoirs had already exploded and that the fire had spread to the remaining storage units.
An oil refinery complex in the eastern Iranian city of Birjand caught fire early on Sunday morning, causing thick smoke that could be seen from several kilometers away.
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So far, Iranian officials reported that the fire consumed 1.5 million liters of fuel in its initial stages.
According to a Tasnim news agency, the fire broke out at 8:45 a.m. local time. The refinery, which belongs to the Azaran Sanaat Barsava company, is located in Iran’s South Khorasan province.
Iranian officials received an order to evacuate a nearby factory as firefighting forces continued to battle the flames. Mohammad Ali Akhundi, the director-general of Iran’s South Khorasan Province’s crisis management department, told the IRNA that “operational vehicles” were forced to work to extinguish the flames “from around the danger zone because it was a matter of life.
Fazeli reported that five firefighting groups and many fire engines at the scene working to “cool the nearby reservoirs down to prevent the further spread of the blaze.”
According to the director-general, Iranian firefighting forces are considering letting the fire engulf the reservoirs due to the severe dangers involved. Rescue teams have been temporarily withdrawn from the spot due to the constant threat of further explosions.
Akhundi confirmed that there are no residential buildings in the vicinity of the factory. There have been no injuries had reported.
Officials reported that they are concerned about the air quality, due to the smoke which can be seen for miles.
This incident comes two years after a fire at a state-owned oil refinery near Tehran, where the flames raged for over 20 hours before being extinguished. That event resulted in injuries to 11 people, including nine brave firefighters, painting a grim picture of the potential risks involved in such disasters.
The cause of the fire is still to be determined.