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Explosion at South Africa Oil Refinery, 7 Hospitalized

Explosion at South Africa Oil Refinery, 7 Hospitalized

Friday, 4 December, 2020 - 09:15
The Chevron Oil Refinery is seen in Cape Town, South Africa, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Seven people were hospitalized after an early-morning explosion and fire at an oil refinery near the harbor in the South African city of Durban on Friday, emergency services officials said.

The explosion just after 7 a.m. was heard across the city and caused a large fire that sent plumes of black smoke billowing.

Authorities haven´t said what caused the blast.

All seven injured people were workers at the refinery, paramedic Garrith Jamieson said. He said six of the workers were being treated for smoke inhalation and the other injured their hip in a fall while trying to escape the fire.

Jamieson said that fire engines, bomb squad units, metro police and search and rescue personnel were on the scene.

Emergency services spokesman Robert McKenzie said the fire was now out. He said there had also been a fire at a nearby apartment complex which fire services also put out. Mckenzie said it was unclear if the two fires were connected. No one was hurt at the apartment complex, he said.

The refinery is owned by South African oil company Engen and is listed as the second biggest in the country.

Engen said a fire burned at the refinery for about an hour and 35 minutes but didn't mention an explosion. The cause of the fire was under investigation, the company said.

According to Engen’s website, the plant has a crude refining capacity of 120,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Africa’s most industrialized economy has six refineries, four using crude oil and two synthetic fuel as feedstock. It is a net importer of petroleum products.

The country’s third-biggest crude oil refinery, a 100,000 bpd facility operated by Astron Energy in Cape Town, was also rocked by an explosion earlier this year.

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