"Body of one more person was recovered this afternoon. While, two persons, whose bodies were recovered earlier, have been identified, we are trying to identify the third," Surat District Collector Jayprakash Shivhare told PTI.
"All the three persons, who perished in the fire, are not regular, but contractual employees," he said. The fire has been completely brought under control after more than 24 hours, he said. "However, the entire operation may continue for some more time. Till the Controller of Explosives tells us that chances of another fire is not there, we will continue our operation," Shivhare said.
The IOC facility at Hazira has nine tanks located nearby each other. The tank number four had almost 5,000 kilolitres of petrol, half of its capacity, when it caught fire.
"Fire brigade personnel did a commendable job by restricting the fire to one tank only, in an operation which started last afternoon," he said. "The petrol in the tank number four has almost burnt out by now, while we have managed to ensure that fire does not spread to other tanks by constantly spraying water and foam on them to keep them cool," he said.
This is the second major fire at IOC storage depots since 2009. On Oct 29, 2009, a fire broke out at its Jaipur terminal which was attributed to non-observance of normal safety procedures. The Jaipur depot fire raged for 11 days, killed 11 people and resulted in losses worth Rs 280 crore.
"We had called all the resources at our disposal. The fire brigade teams from all the big cities and nearby small towns of Gujarat were called in. Fire tenders of private companies were also called," he said.
Lauding the disaster management mechanism for containing the fire from not spreading to other tanks, Union Petroleum minister Veerappa Moily, who visited the site this afternoon, said a high-level probe has been ordered and a report is expected by Jan 20. He also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased.