11 days later, IOC fire over

IOC fire

The devastating fire at the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) depot near Jaipur that began on October 29 was finally extinguished on Monday evening, though district officials maintained that smoke was still visible from one container. IOC officials were advised on Monday to remove any remaining flammable materials from the depot to avoid further untoward incidents.

The blaze, which began 11 days ago following a leak in the fuel pipeline and then a blast, has claimed 11 lives, including six IOC employees who were stationed in the depot, and left more than 100 injured. Following an explosion on October 29, the fire spread to all 11 containers in the IOC depot, which became uncontrollable, forcing fire fighting experts to hold back and let the fuel burn off. A day after the fire broke out, Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora had stated that there was no other option but to let the fuel expend itself.

Jaipur District Collector Kuldeep Ranka on Monday stated that the fire had completely abated. "The fire was fully out on Monday evening after all the fuel in the containers had burned out. For now, only smoke from one container is still remaining, which might abate in a few hours," Ranka said. He added that IOC officials had been asked to survey the depot and remove any remaining flammable materials from the site.

The fire has had no "significant" or "visible" environmental impact in the surrounding areas nor any adverse impact on the Taj Mahal which is only a couple of hundred kilometres away, an interim pollution report into the accident concluded. After a visit to the site and assessment of the ambient air quality and pollutant levels in the atmosphere, a team from the Central Pollution Control Board, in its interim report, ruled out any immediate health hazards to the local population. "On examination (of ambient air quality data), no changes were observed at Agra (Taj Mahal) even after four days of incessant fire at Jaipur," said the report. "The observed data in Delhi does not indicate any impact of the fire on the air quality," it further said.

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