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Oil refinery fires kill one, many hurt

world Updated: Jan 08, 2008 05:28 IST
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Two fires broke out in Iraq's largest oil refinery in the northern town of Beiji, killing one person and injuring nine, police and hospital officials have said.

The US military said two separate fires broke out in the refinery in the town 250 km north of Baghdad due to a mechanical fault. It confirmed one person had been killed, but said only three people were injured.

The blazes broke out at about 2 pm in a production unit that had recently undergone maintenance work, a police officer and an engineer at the refinery said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release information.

The injured were all suffering from burns and were transported to a local hospital, police and hospital officials said. Engineers said maintenance work had been carried out on units producing liquid gas and petrol, and that the blaze was believed to have been caused by a technical problem as one unit began operating again. Beiji serves as a key transfer point for crude oil being exported out of Iraq. The US military said in a statement on Sunday, that several fire departments were called in and managed to extinguish the blaze.