Update: Eni, commenting in statement on accident that occurred earlier today, says the fire is now under full control, being extinguished. Affected facility “EST” closed, isolated from rest of plant. Company reiterates no staff injured at refinery. Causes of incident being investigated, information to be passed on to authorities.
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According to local press, a massive explosion has rocked one of Italy’s biggest oil refineries in Sannazzaro de' Burgondi, near Pavia, about 40km south of Milan. Local authorities have ordered residents to stay indoors while an emergency plan is activated.
The Department of Civil Protection in the Province of Alessandria says nearby emergency centers have been activated for monitoring and supervision, but people are advised to remain indoors in the meantime.
Local authorities are warning that the clouds of smoke are being pushed by winds towards Voghera, about 30km (19 miles) south of Sannazzaro, and are expected to remain over the site for the coming hours.
The fire at the Eni refinery broke out at around 3.40 p.m. generating a ball of fire tens of meters high, according to eyewitnesses cited by Il Giorno. Images and footage from the scene show an enormous column of black smoke rising overhead.
Eni has issued a statement saying efforts are underway to extinguish the fire and there have been no reports of any injuries. The company also said the cause of the blast is under investigation.
The fire, which broke out in the East Shipyard refinery area according to Il Fatto Quotidiano, comes after a similar incident in July where a worker suffered burns following an explosion at an older part of the plant.