Firefighters continue to battle blaze after huge blast aboard oil tankers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 12:00am

A fire was still raging yesterday on two oil tankers which exploded on Friday after docking at a pier in Guangdong province.

A thick column of black smoke towered over the Panlong Oil Terminal in Panyu as dozens of firefighters sprayed chemical foam in an attempt to quell the flames.

Officials in Panyu said yesterday afternoon that although the fire had not been extinguished, it was under control. Squadrons of firefighters from nearby Guangzhou also joined the operation.

Unconfirmed reports said at least five people were injured in the blast.

Staff at a Panyu hospital confirmed they had received several casualties, saying most were firefighters fell over while battling the flames.

Media reports in Guangzhou said firefighters faced difficulties putting out the blaze aboard the petrol-filled boats due to strong winds.

News Web site reported that more than 100 residents of a nearby village were evacuated at one point on Friday and a helicopter was sent to join the fire-fighting operation.

The windows of several houses and factories in the village were broken and glass was scattered by the initial explosion.

The report said officials were investigating the cause of the blast.

It is thought that a short-circuit on one of the two oil tankers might be to blame.