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Fire losses at Iranian food plant estimated at nearly $200 mln

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A massive fire at a privately-owned Iranian plant has likely caused nearly $200 million in damage.

A massive fire that broke out in a privately owned food processing factory located some 90 kilometers to the southwest of the Iranian capital Tehran has caused nearly $200 million in damage to warehouses and equipment.

Fire came under control on Thursday evening at Tabiat food processing factory some 18 hours after it started reportedly because of a short circuit in the facility’s electrical equipment.

Local officials in the central Iranian city of Zarandieh, where the factory is located, said that initial estimate suggest that the blaze had caused around 50 trillion rials in damage.

Zarandieh's governor Siamak Soleymani said that two people had been injured in the fire which started overnight around 3.30 a.m. local time.

“The cause of the fire is not determined yet and experts should examine the issue. However, we guess that short circuit and electricity problems were main causes of the blaze,” said Soleymani,

Tabiat is a major supplier of packaged food in Iran with a focus on staple cooking oil. Reports said the fire at the company’s main production site could cause a shortage of the product in the Iranian market.

Industry sources said the company had plans before the fire to further increase its monthly output of cooking oil to beyond 10,000 metric tons.

However, they said there was no concern about any lack of cooking oil supplies on supermarket shelves in Iran as a result of the incident.

The fire at Tabiat plant is one of the largest reported in privately-owned manufacturing sites in Iran in recent years as such facilities normally observe higher fire safety standards compared to their state-run rivals.

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