May 21, 2006

Fire under control at Japan oil refinery

TOKYO (Reuters) - An oil tank exploded at a Toa Oil
refinery in the Japanese city of Kawasaki on Sunday, but just
over two hours later the fire was nearly out, police and fire
officials said.

There were no injuries.

A police spokesman in Kawasaki, which borders Tokyo, said
the explosion blew the top off the tank, sending clouds of
black smoke billowing into the air.

"The fire is nearly out, however, and there is no danger of
it spreading to other tanks," he said, adding that fire trucks
would be spraying the tank with water for an hour or two more
to cool it down still further.

A Kawasaki fire official said there currently was no smoke
visible over the refinery.

Television footage showed the top of the tank crumpled with
steam rising.

"When I heard the explosion, my house shook. I thought it
was an earthquake," a nearby resident told private broadcaster
TV Asahi.

An official at Toa Oil said that it was not immediately
clear what, if any, impact the fire would have on the plant's
operations and that an assessment could not be made until all
firefighting activities had ceased.

He added that the plant had been operating normally at the
time of the explosion.

The Keihin refinery at which the fire took place has a
capacity of 185,000-barrels-per-day.