Oil Storage Unit South of Tehran Hit by Lightning

Officials said 30 fire engines battled the blaze.
Officials said 30 fire engines battled the blaze.

A fire broke out at an oil storage facility in south Tehran in the early hours of Sunday. It was put out within hours. 

The fire started after lightning struck an oil storage unit at the site of Iranian Oil Pipelines and Telecommunications Company (IOPTC) at 00:15 a.m. local time. 

Fire units from local oil companies rushed to the scene and managed to put out the blaze at around 4:20 a.m., Shana reported.

There were no casualties. Officials said 30 fire engines battled the blaze.

Hassan Bagherian, the chief executive of IOPTC, said the storage unit was heavily damaged and nearly 400,000 liters of crude oil went up in flames in the "unprecedented incident".

Thunder and lightning hit the facility's ceiling and tossed it tens of meters away. The unit has a capacity of 2 million liters of crude oil.

Tehran Oil Refinery, which is located near the IOPTC, 15 kilometers south of Tehran, was not affected by the blaze, the refinery's managing director said.

"It is business as usual," Naser Babai said. "The fire broke out at a nearby company and had nothing to do with the refinery."

The capital is on high alert for any fire incident report after a commercial building in downtown Tehran was burned to the ground on Jan. 19, killing and estimated two dozen firefighters and citizens.

Firefighters battled the blaze at the 17-storey Plasco Building, which was once Tehran's tallest and home to a major shopping center and clothing workshops, before its collapse.

Iran witnessed a chain of fire incidents in its petroleum industry last year.

On July 6, a massive fire erupted in Bouali Sina Petrochemical Complex in the southern oil province of Khuzestan in what was described as the largest incident in the oil and gas industry in recent times.

Firefighters extinguished the massive blaze after three days of arduous battle that injured nine people.

Weeks later, fire broke out at the Bistoon Petrochemical Company in Kermanshah Province but had no fatalities. 

In September, Mobin Petrochemical Complex in the southern port city of Asalouyeh faced a similar incident in which four people were injured.

A blaze that erupted at a privately-owned refinery in central Iran was doused without fatalities. It was the latest in a string of incidents in energy industry.

Also in October, fire ripped through Piroozi Oil and Gas Refinery in Shahroud, 400 kilometers west of Tehran in Semnan Province. 

Firefighters put out the blaze after five hours with no fatalities.


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