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Monday, April 4, 2011

Fighting fire at Pertamina tanks with copter postponed : police chief

Cilacap (ANTARA News) - Central Java police chief Inspector General Edward Aritonang said his side has postponed the use of a helicopter in trying to put out the flames at the Pertamina refinery in Cilacap.

"We have prepared a helicopter at Tunggulwulung airport, but after a technical coordination with Pertamina, the plan to use a helicopter had been postponed," he told the press here Sunday afternoon.

He said the postponement was made on the consideration that spreading foam from a helicopter would be rather difficult although the pilot and copilot have wide experience in dropping relief aid in disaster locations.

In this case, he said, shooting with foam at the burning tank needs to be 99.9 pct accurate because practically all the points in Pertamina are danger zones.

He also said that the causes of the fire will be investigated and determined by the Police Forensic Laboratory and a similar facility of Semarang.

In the meantime, head of the police physical and chemical laboratory Senior Commissioner Agus Irianto said he and his men will start investigating the causes of the fire after it has been put out.

"It is still very difficult for us to enter the raging flames, that is why we are waiting until the flames had been put out," he said.

The flames at the Pertamina plant which broke out on Saturday at 4.55 am, hit tank 31 T-2 containing high octane mogas component (HOMC) for increasing octane in premium gasoline.

The fire has destroyed the tank and spread to tank 31 T-3 on Saturday afternoon, and tank 31 T-7 later in the night.

Until Sunday afternoon, the fire was still raging at three tanks although it was raining slightly.

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