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Chemical Plant Fire, Gresik, Indonesia

20 January 2004
An explosion, followed by a fierce fire, at an Indonesian petrochemicals plant killed at least two people andinjured a further 40 on 20thJanuary 2004. Officials said the blaze engulfed chemical tanks at the PT PetroWidada complex in Gresik, near Surabaya city in East Java. PT Petro Widada is a subsidiary of PT Petro KimiaGresik and a joint venture between six companies, with Royal Petrochemie and Eterindo Wahanatama holdingthe largest percentage of shares. The blaze exploded some ammonia-contained tanks, forcing the police to evacuate about 250 residents livingwithin the vicinity of plant. At least five houses were also burned down.According to Agence France Presse, a spokesman for Petro Kimia Gresik said the blaze destroyed two plantsand caused tens of millions of dollars in damage. Agence France Presse also reports that Muhaimin Iqbal, anexecutive at the insurance firm Tugu Pratama, said that the company had prepared for a payout in the tens ofmillions of dollars. Mr Iqbal said “after making summary checks, we have an exposure of some USD75 millionin the area”.Officials said the cause of the fire remained under investigation but there was no sign of criminal activity. Theyadded that the blaze was believed to have started when a machine at the plastic components plant overheated


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