TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A massive fire that broke out at an oil refinery near Iran’s capital and sent a huge plume of black smoke into the sky over Tehran was extinguished on Thursday, after more than 20 hours, a news agency reported.
The semi-official ISNA agency quoted the country’s deputy oil minister, Alireza Sadeghabadi as saying the blaze was first fully contained and then finally put out.
“The courageous actions by firefighters ... led to the complete extinguishing of the fire and prevented the flames from spreading to other nearby tanks,” said Sadeghabadi, thanking the fire department.
The fire erupted at the state-owned Tondgooyan Petrochemical Co. to the south of Tehran on Wednesday night. The Oil Ministry’s SHANA news agency said it was caused by a leak in two waste tanks at the facility. Authorities initially suggested the flames affected a liquified petroleum gas pipeline at the refinery.
Jalal Maleki, spokesman for the Tehran Fire Department, told state TV that 10 fire department stations, including 60 heavy operating vehicles and more than 180 firefighters, took part in the operation to battle the blaze.
The head of Tehran’s emergency medical services, Payman Saberian, said 11 people were injured, with four in hospitals, ISNA reported.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh visited the scene overnight. While seeking to assure the public the fire wouldn’t affect production, Iranians queued up for gasoline on Thursday morning, the start of the weekend in the Islamic Republic.
Earlier, SHANA also quoted refinery spokesman Shaker Khafaei as saying authorities hoped the fire would extinguish itself after running out of fuel in the coming hours.
Temperatures in Tehran reached nearly 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday. Hot summer weather in Iran has caused fires in the past.
The blaze came the same day a fire struck the largest warship in the Iranian navy, which later sank in the Gulf of Oman.