Fire at IOCL: Oil minister asks OISD to probe matter

Paradip: Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday visited the Atmospheric and Vacuum Distillation Unit (AVU) of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) refinery here where a major fire broke out on Saturday evening and reviewed the situation there.

The Union minister also asked Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) to probe the matter and submit a report within three days.

“There will no change in the schedule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the refinery following the incident,” Pradhan informed.

Executive Director of IOCL’s Paradip Refinery Ramjee Ram said the loss due to the blaze can be ascertained only after thorough assessment.

The nearby units, which had been shut down after the fire broke out, were now being restarted as the flames have been completely put out.

After five hours of hectic efforts with seven fire tenders, the major fire that broke out at the AVU of the IOCL refinery was brought under control on Saturday night.

According to sources, four fire tenders of IOCL were initially pressed into service to douse the flame. But the intensity of fire was so high that three more fire tenders were brought from PPL, Paradip Port and IFFCO to control the fire.

“Though no loss of life has been reported, substantial property has been gutted in the fire. The exact amount of loss can be ascertained only after the completion of the assessment which will be done today,” said an IOCL official.

“Following the incident, we have closed the nearby units of IOCL. But the fire is now under control and we will restart operations soon after the repair work,” the official added.

Union Petroleum minister Dhramendra Pradhan was present at the refinery during the accident. Earlier on Saturday, Pradhan reviewed arrangements for Modi’s visit to the plant on February 7.

Notably, a fire engulfed the Atmospheric and Vacuum Distillation Unit (AVU), near the number one gate of IOCL, on Saturday evening triggering panic among the employees and locals.

The fire broke out just a week before the visit of Prime Minister raising alarms over the inauguration of the 15 MMTPA plant.

The fire was reported from the newly-constructed AVU unit at about 6.30 pm and is believed to have been caused by the sparks flying from a drilling machine.

The helipad where the Prime Minister’s chopper is slated to land is around 400 metre from the site.