Second blaze at PetroChina plant

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 12:00am

A fire broke out yesterday morning at a PetroChina refinery in Dalian, Liaoning, as it was about to resume full operation following a blaze last month, state media reported.

Flames and plumes of dark smoke could be seen from several kilometres away, some bloggers who posted photos of the blaze said. Others who were about a kilometre from the scene wrote that they had heard an explosion.

The fire broke out in a diesel oil tank with a capacity of 800 tonnes. Xinhua said almost 300 firemen and 65 fire engines were deployed to stop the blaze spreading to other tanks storing hundreds of tonnes of petrol, liquid petroleum gas and aviation fuel. They battled the blaze for three hours before eventually putting it out around 1.20pm.

Police said the blaze was caused by an explosion in a pipeline linking two fuel tanks. No casualties had been reported.

Dalian resident Zhang Jun said he saw many fire engines and vehicles monitoring air quality about two kilometres from the refinery.

'There was still a stench in the air when I was there at 3pm,' he said.

The Xinhua report cited a local government official as saying that all the water used to put out the fire was diverted into a specially designed lagoon in an attempt to prevent contamination of the sea.

Statistics released by the city's environmental monitoring agency showed that the level of pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen compounds after the fire did not exceed environmental protection standards, the report said.

The operation of other parts of the refinery was suspended in the wake of a fire on July 16.