SIBU, July 27 — An employee was injured after the underground tank at a petrol station at Jalan Brother Albinus here caught fire around 10am today.
An explosion was heard as the fire sent a thick plume of smoke high above the side of the petrol station.
Members of the public in the vicinity were seen running helter-skelter.
Staff of the petrol station managed to put out the fire with fire extinguishers before it caused further damage.
Sibu Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) chief Suna Kaha said the injured woman was brought to the Jalan Lanang Health Clinic before being transferred to Sibu Hospital for further treatment.
“Initial investigation revealed that the victim was measuring the level of the underground oil tank for the discharge of oil from a tanker, when just then a van drove past the outlet on the underground oil tank, igniting the fire and the explosion, which could have been started by the heat coming from the van’s battery or its exhaust pipe,” he revealed.
Suna said the total cost of damages has yet to be ascertained.
Both the van and the oil tanker only suffered minor damage.
Dramatic video footage of the accident, circulated widely on social media, showed a huge plume of thick black smoke shooting into the air, causing a massive traffic jam along Jalan Brother Albinus.
Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang, who rushed to the scene upon learning of the incident, said the petrol station management should ensure that strict standard operating procedures (SOP) are followed when discharging petrol from oil tankers to the underground tank.
She reminded all petrol stations to stop motorists from driving over the open outlet of the underground oil tank as accidents could happen.
“Never take for granted that such things will not happen. There are so many shops nearby and fortunately the fire was quickly brought under control,” she said. — Borneo Post Online