Fire broke out at 8:39 am in vegetation covering a spherical downslope LPG tank during welding works on a safety railing by a subcontractor. A hot work permit had been issued and a gas testing meter provided to the subcontracted firm. Moreover, notification had been given, in the presence of a site watchman, regarding use of the 6-kg powder extinguisher made available. The vegetation had also been wetted with the facility’s sprinkling system. The subcontractor was unable to use the extinguisher that he mishandled (?) and subsequently sounded the alarm. At 8:41, the emergency shutoff and siren were activated and 3 fire water pumps started up. Administrative staff were evacuated. Internal responders directed 1 powder extinguisher and a turbo hose at the fire, which was hard to detect due to the dense green plant cover. Smoke was being persistently released, the 2nd and 3rd response teams were deployed, and the internal emergency plan ultimately launched. The adjacent oil depot was alerted and its personnel were also evacuated. At 8:44, the fire was extinguished but the turbo hose was left running atop the slope.
Activity at the gas depot resumed around 9 am and administrative staff returned to their offices at 9:30. During its investigation, the inspection authorities for classified facilities rate noted that this specific scenario had not been studied in the safety report and that the site’s extinguisher capacity fell short of the regulatory minimum (6 l instead of 9 l). Following this incident, the operator replaced depot extinguishers and instituted the automatic use of a hose-driven sprinkling system when conducting works at hotspots. The operator was also required to submit to the inspectorate proof that employees had received fire safety training to effectively recall extinguisher use protocols.