Five killed in massive blast

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 17 Mar 2020

Race against time: Fire and Rescue Department personnel working to put out a fire caused by the explosion at PIC in Pengerang.

PENGERANG: A massive explosion at a hydro diesel treater unit (HTU) at Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) left five people dead and another injured.

The dead have been identified as Malaysians Azarul Ashraf Nor Akmal Zorkalnain, Che Huzaydy Che Harun, Norfazly Mad Nor, Faidhi Akmal Fadzil and Hadi Syafiq Jamil.

The injured victim is Arnado Alexander from Sarawak, who has been hospitalised with 40% burns.

A seventh victim, identified as Mohd Saiful Amat, managed to flee to safety during the 10.50pm incident on Sunday.

This is the second major explosion at the complex after a similar explosion in April 2019.

However, only two people were injured back then.

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) has issued a temporary stop-work order for the HTU project to facilitate investigations.

Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman R. Vidyanathan said the investigation would be jointly conducted by the Fire

and Rescue Department, police, Department of Environment and DOSH.

“The operation of the unit has been temporarily suspended until further notice to facilitate investigations, ” he told reporters after a meeting at the PIC management office here yesterday.

He said the issue was an isolated case and PRefChem had already conducted safety measures.

PRefChem is a joint venture between Petronas and Saudi Aramco.

“We should take this as a lesson and further our safety standards and regulations, ” Vidyanathan said, adding that the state government would offer help to the families of the victims.

State Fire and Rescue Department operations commander Pauzan Ahmad said the first body was found at 3.56am, while the last body was found 12.42pm.

“The body of the fourth victim was found at level four of the plant, while the last body was found in a puddle of water.

“The first three bodies were charred, the fourth was burnt and the last victim is believed to have fallen into the puddle that was formed due to the continuous fire fighting efforts, ” he said.

He added that the operation lasted for about 12 hours before the fire was put out.

A total of 107 firemen were deployed from the Sebana Cove stations, Sungai Rengit, Punggai, Pasir Gudang and Larkin.

Meanwhile, condolence messages started pouring in, including from Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.

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