At least two people have perished in a fire at a petrol (motor spirit) tank of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in Hazira in Gujarat, an official said Sunday.
A team of senior officials, who went for preliminary inspection near the tank farm area, found two unidentified bodies, said N. Srikumar, IOC executive director.
Preliminary reports indicated these could be contract workers, he said.
The fire, which raged on for nearly 18 hours at the company's bulk storage terminal in Hazira in south Gujarat, has been brought under control now, he said.
The blaze ravaged the tanks with a capacity of 9,600 kilotires of petrol and 5,000 kilolitres, which was lost.
At present, only the sludge at the bottom of the tank was billowing smoke but efforts were on deal with it, Srikumar said.
The fire fighting team, comprising of 50 fire tenders and 60 tankers, averted a mega disaster by preventing the fire from spreading to adjacent dozen-odd similar storage tanks.
Over 6,000 kilolitres of water and foam were used to douse the flames and keep the adjacent tanks cool.
Top officials, including IOC chairman R.S. Butola, marketing director M. Nene and Oil Industry Safety Directorate executive director Hirak Datta have rushed to the site to supervise the fire-fighting operations.
Srikumar said the fire was tackled on war-footing with help from the Gujarat government, Surat district collectorate, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL), Reliance, Essar, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Kribhco and Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority.
This is the second major fire at IOC storage depots since 2009.
In 2009, a fire broke out at the company's Jaipur terminal that raged on for 11 days, killing 11 people, and causing losses worth Rs.280 crore.
Losses in Hazira fire are being assessed.