Gulf Today

Massive fire erupts at Indonesia army depot


JAKARTA: Indonesian firefighte­rs were struggling to put out a massive fire that broke out on Saturday at a military ammunition facility just outside the capital, causing a series of explosions and sending clouds of smoke into the night sky.

No one was reported to have died in the incident, military official Mohammad Hasan told reporters at the scene, saying the fire had broken out in a part of the facility that was used to store expired ammunition.

“We’ve checked the location, perimeters, there are no fatalities,” Hasan told a press conference near the site in Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

“The expired ammunition­s contain chemicals that can be unstable. There could have been some frictions that sparked the fire,” he said.

Footage broadcast by local network Kompastv showed orange flames and billowing clouds of smoke rising into the night sky, while loud explosions could be heard from several kilometres away.

Teams of firefighte­rs and paramedics could be seen near the site, but could not approach as the fire raged on, according to local media reports. They said the blaze had started at 6.30pm (1130 GMT).

Local resident Arga Nanda told Kompastv he had heard a loud explosion that shook doors and windows. People ran out into the streets thinking it was an earthquake, he said.

Army official Kristomei Sianturi told the channel authoritie­s were evacuating people from nearby neighbourh­oods. Firefighte­rs could not yet extinguish the blaze, he said, adding its cause was unknown.

He also warned residents not to touch any objects that may be been “thrown” outwards by explosions.

Recently, a fire that burned about 15 hectares of an Indonesian landfill in the country’s most populous province was put off ater several days.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has said the fire was ignited by a cigarette that was thrown on the ground, though he didn’t provide details.

Flames engulfed the Sarimukti landfill in the West Bandung region in the West Java province, choking nearby residents.

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