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Archive for Sunday, July 30, 2006

Blast at oil refinery injures nearly 150

July 30, 2006

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— An explosion at an oil refinery in Indonesia early Saturday injured nearly 150 people and caused about 7,000 residents to flee their homes, police said.

The explosion took place at a joint Pertamina-Petrochina oil refinery in eastern Java province as workers tried to contain a gas leak by setting it on fire, local police chief Rumhadi said.

There were no deaths reported, but nearly 150 people were hospitalized suffering from respiratory problems after inhaling gas, said Rumhadi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

"Police are still investigating the cause of the accident," he said.

Although the fire was put out, about 7,000 residents from 10 villages in the district about 350 miles east of the capital, Jakarta, will not be allowed to return to their homes and must stay in government offices until the area is safe, Rumhadi said.

Indonesia's state-owned Pertamina and PetroChina of China did not immediately comment on the blast.

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