At least 10 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a huge blaze at an illegal oil well in Indonesia, authorities said.
An oil spill sparked a huge fire in a residential area on Sumatra island’s Aceh province, destroying at least three houses and still burning out of control mid-morning.
“The fire is still soaring high and has not yet successfully been extinguished,” said Saiful, head of Aceh’s Ranto Peureulak subdistrict.
Firefighters were at the scene, with state-owned oil company Pertamina assisting their efforts. Police said the victims were collecting oil from around the entrance of an oil wellbore when the blaze erupted. It was not known how much oil was spilled or what ignited the fire.
East Aceh is dotted with numerous small-scale oil mining operations, which are often run illegally by local villagers. Although authorities said the operation was illegal, deadly fires are not uncommon in Indonesia, a sprawling country of more than 260 million people where safety regulations are often flouted.
In October, 47 people died after a blaze tore through a fireworks factory outside Jakarta. Workplace safety is often lacking in Indonesia and there are also concerns about lax building standards.