Massive fire breaks out at oil refinery near Tehran
A massive fire broke out Wednesday night at the oil refinery known as Tondgooyan refinery near the capital of Iran, sending thick plumes of black smoke over Tehran. No casualties have been reported so far. "The fire struck the state-owned Tondgooyan Petrochemical Company, to the south of Tehran," said Mansour Darajati, the Director-General of the capital's crisis management team.
The fire struck an LPG pipeline at the facility: Firefighters
"Firefighters believe it struck a pipeline for liquefied petroleum gas at the facility," Darajati told Iranian state television, but did not elaborate further. The Associated Press journalists in Central Tehran, some 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) away, could see the black smoke rise in the distance. Another AP journalist saw flames shooting into the sky from the site.
Hot weather could have been a reason for the fire
Mojtaba Khaledi, the spokesman for Iran's Emergency Department, told the semiofficial ISNA news agency that 10 ambulances and other equipment had been deployed at the scene of the fire. "Hospitals in the area are on standby as well," he said. Notably, temperatures in Tehran reached nearly 40 degree Celsius on Wednesday. Hot summer weather in Iran has caused fires in the past.
Officials have ruled out the possibility of sabotage
However, Shaker Khafali, Head of Tehran Oil Refining Co., who runs the facility, has ruled out the possibility of sabotage, Iran's state TV reported. Notably, all emergency operations within the facility have been suspended, according to Reuters.
Iran's largest warship caught fire and sank on Wednesday
The blaze came on the same day fire struck Iran's largest warship, which later sank in the Gulf of Oman, under unclear circumstances. The Fars and Tasnim news agencies said efforts failed to save the support warship Kharg, named after the island that serves as the main oil terminal. The blaze began around 2:25 am on Wednesday and firefighters tried to contain it.