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Assam Oil well fire rages on; 7,000 people evacuated, 35 houses burnt

Two firefighters of OIL were found dead near the site of a major fire at its Baghjan well in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday ordered a high-level investigation into the circumstances that triggered a massive fire at the leaking natural gas producing well of Oil India Ltd (OIL) in Tinsukia district, around 550 km east of Guwahati. Well No 5 at Baghjan had been spewing gas for the last 16 days and it caught fire on Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), firefighters, and engineers have intensified their efforts to control the blaze. More than 7,000 people have been evacuated so far. Also, 35 houses have been either completely or partially burnt.

The oil well fire is so intense that it is visible from a distance of over 30 km.

According to OIL spokesman Tridiv Hazarika, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan convened a review meeting with the crisis management team and OIL officials in this regard.

“Over 7,000 inhabitants adjoining the oil well fire site have been shifted to the 12 relief camps set up by the OIL,” said Hazarika.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that except at the well plinth area, the fire around the site has been doused. However, there would not be any let-up in the burning of gas at the well mouth unless the well is capped.

As per a senior Tinsukia district administration official, at least four weeks or a month could be required to douse the flames completely.

The inferno took place even as an expert team from a Singapore-based emergency management firm had been attempting to plug the leakage of gas and oil condensate for the last 16 days.

The Assam CM had yesterday telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and informed him about the latest developments regarding “oil well explosion incident”.

“The Prime Minister assured all help towards the people in the affected area,” said an Assam government release.

On Tuesday, Sonowal had urged Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for help from the IAF to douse the blaze.

News Source Time Now News

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