The Jaipur oil depot fire broke out on 29 October 2009 at 7:30 PM (IST) at the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) oil depot’s giant tank holding 8,000 kilolitres (280,000 cu ft) of oil, in Sitapura Industrial Area on the outskirts of Jaipur, Rajasthan, killing 12 people and injuring over 200. The blaze continued to rage out of control for over a week after it started and during the period half a million people were evacuated from the area. The oil depot is about 16 kilometers (9.9 mi) south of the city of Jaipur
The incident occurred when petrol was being transferred from the Indian Oil Corporation’s oil depot to a pipeline. There were at least 40 IOC employees at the terminal, situated close to the Jaipur International Airport) when it caught fire with an explosion. The Met department recorded a tremor measuring 2.3 on the Richter scale around the time the first explosion at 7:36 pm which resulted in shattering of glass window nearly 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the accident site.
The fire was a major disaster in terms of deaths, injury, loss of business, property and man-days, displacement of people, environmental impact in Jaipur, the capital city of the Indian state of Rajasthan and a popular tourist destination. As per eyewitnesses having factories and hotels around Indian Oil’s Sitapura (Jaipur) Oil Terminal they felt presence of petrol vapour in the atmosphere around 4:00 p.m. on 29 October 2009. Within the next few hours the concentration of petrol vapour intensified making it difficult to breathe. The Ayush Hotel in the vicinity of the terminal asked all its guests to vacate the Hotel to avert any tragedy. The police, civil administration and fire emergency services were oblivious of the situation developing in Indian Oil Terminal.
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Around half past six the staff in the terminal had contained the leak and flow of petrol panicked and reported the matter to nearby Sanganer Sadar Police Station. Within the next 30 minutes the local police chief and District Collector were on the spot along with Indian Oil General Manager, but with no plan to deal with the situation. The nearby industries, which were running second shifts, were cautioned to vacate the area.
At 7:35 p.m. a huge ball of fire with loud explosion broke out engulfing the leaking petrol tank and other nearby petrol tanks with continuous fire with flames rising 30–35 m (98–115 ft) and visible from a 30 km (19 mi) radius. The traffic on adjacent National Highway No. 12 was stopped leading to a 20 km (12 mi) long traffic jam. The Jaipur International Airport is just 5 km (3.1 mi) away from the accident site.
Both the Army and experts from Mumbai were employed on 30 October 2009 to contain the fire, which started when an oil tanker caught fire at the depot in the Sitapura Industrial Area. The district administration disconnected electricity and evacuated nearby areas to limit the damage.
The fire still raged on 31 October 2009, in the Indian Oil Corporation Depot, at Jaipur, after a defective pipe line leak that set fire to 50,000 kilolitres (1,800,000 cu ft) of dieseland petrol out of the storage tanks at the IOC Depot. By then, the accident had already claimed 11 lives and seriously injured more than 150. The District Administration and Indian Oil Corporation had no disaster management plan to deal with this kind of calamity. The local fire officers were ill equipped to deal with fire accidents of this magnitude. They remained onlookers and no efforts were made to breach the terminal wall to get closer to kerosene and diesel tanks to cool them with water jets.
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The following products were stored in eleven tanks inside the terminal:
* Petrol (18,810 kl (664,000 cu ft))
* Kerosene (2,099 kl (74,100 cu ft))
* High Speed Diesel (39,966 kl (1,411,400 cu ft))
* Interface (2,809 kl (99,200 cu ft))
About 12 people lost their lives due to burns and asphyxia and more than 300 suffered injuries. Many of the dead were the employees of Indian Oil Corporation.
Disaster Management Plan
THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2005 envisages that each revenue District must have a Disaster Management Plan. While 31 revenue Districts of Rajasthan had placed the Disaster Management Plan on Rajasthan Government website Jaipur District did not have any Disaster Management Plan. A Disaster Management Plan for Jaipur District has been put on Internet on 17 November 2009 i.e. 20 days after the accident took place on 29 October 2009. In the meanwhileJaipur suffered two more disasters when Swine Flu infected a number of school children prompting Government to order closure of schools, and derailment of a Train Mandore Express killing six persons and injuring more than 50 persons.