Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Fire at waste processing firm

Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Bogor

Fire engulfed on Wednesday a warehouse used to store drums of toxic materials in Bogor.

No injuries were reported in the blaze.

The warehouse is part of the Klapa Nunggal facility, owned by Prasadha Pamunah Limbah Industri (PPLi), the country's largest hazardous waste processing firm.

Otte Sulistyo, a public relations officer for PPLi, said the warehouse was used to store low-level toxic industrial waste.

He said the incident, the first of its kind since the company began operations in 1994, had been reported to the Office of the State Minister for the Environment, which owns a 5 percent stake in PPLi, according to standard procedures.

Otte said the company's operations would not be disrupted by the fire. He added that a full investigation and a damage assessment were underway.

According to Klapa Nunggal Police chief Adj. Comr. Musimin, the fire began at about 9:30 a.m.

All of the company's 233 employees were safely evacuated from the premises. The fire, which burned for over six hours, was contained with a special foam used to fight chemical fires.

"Because of the nature of the waste, if we used water a chemical reaction could have occurred, further fueling the blaze," said Musimin.

PPLi runs the largest waste disposal and hazardous material facility in Indonesia, last year processing about 60,000 tons of industrial waste from 800 companies across Indonesia, including mining giant Newmont Minahasa in North Sulawesi.

PPLi, whose facilities meet international environmental standards, is controlled by Modern Asia Environmental Holdings, which also owns hazardous material processing facilities in Thailand.