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Government to relocate residents or move fuel facility after fire

Jakarta Post - March 5, 2023

Jakarta (Agencies) – The government will relocate residents living near a fuel-storage fire that killed 16 people or remove the depot owned by state energy company Pertamina to a safer location, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Sunday.

The decision will rest with State-Owned Enterprise Minister Erick Thohir, Pertamina and Jakarta Governor Heru Budi Hartono, he said, adding that no one can live near the facility.

Dozens were injured and hundreds remained displaced on Sunday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said, after Friday's night's fire that began in a fuel pipe at the Plumpang depot in the capital Jakarta.

"We do have a clear solution towards this problem," Jokowi said as he visited survivors in temporary shelters in Plumpang. He said the decision would be made in a day or two.

The fire spread to nearby houses, panicking people in the densely populated before it was extinguished on Friday night. Pertamina has lifted the emergency status for the facility and restarted distribution. It said Jakarta's fuel supply would remain secure.

Investigation continues into the cause of the fire. The company said on Saturday a pipe leak was detected before the blaze.

The depot might be relocated to artificial islands off the north coast of Jakarta, Jokowi said, adding that ideally the depot would be surrounded by river, not a settlement. Seventeen artificial islands, built by the Jakarta government under the capital's land reclamation project, have been abandoned in recent years.

Jokowi ordered an audit of similar facilities across Indonesia to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

Top officials have called for a probe into the fire's cause and an audit of Indonesia's energy facilities after several recent blazes.

"After we had multiple fires... it is clear that we must audit all fuel facilities and infrastructures, especially tanks and refineries," Sugeng Suparwoto, head of the House of Representatives energy commission, told local broadcaster Metro TV on Saturday.

A massive blaze broke out in 2021 at the Balongan refinery in West Java, also owned by Pertamina and one of Indonesia's biggest such facilities.

That same depot saw fires in 2009 and again in 2014, when the flames spread to 40 houses nearby. No casualties were reported in either of those cases.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2023/03/05/government-to-relocate-residents-or-move-fuel-facility-after-fire.htm