Lightning strike causes floating roof tank fire

Floating roof

Mumbai Mirror

HMN-A lightning strike caused an explosion and fire situation in a diesel tank on Butcher Island.  Firefighters were able to confine the flammable liquid fire to one diesel tank on Sunday.  The Mumbai Mirror provides more.


Two days after a Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) oil tank caught fire on Jawahar Dweep (commonly known as Butcher Island), off the coast of Mumbai, fire brigade teams managed to bring the blaze completely under control, Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale said on Sunday evening.


The tank had exploded after being struck by lightning, and firefighters fought hard to ensure that the other tanks remained unaffected.

On Sunday, firefighters battled extreme heat and highly combustible fuel to contain the fire after Tank No 13 exploded around 11.45 am. “The fire was confined to high-speed diesel in Tank No 13, which exploded due to the high heat and fire. Due to tremendous heat, the affected tank defragmented.

Due to this, there was a fear that other tanks might be involved. There was a potential for even worse damage and a risk to the persons involved in the operations,” Rahangdale said.

Firefighters decanted tank with a floating roof

According to sources, firefighters fought aggressively to keep the fire from spreading and worked on cooling the existing blaze. “We used water curtains from all sides to cool the fire and worked meticulously to decant one of the tanks with a floating roof to contain the fire,” Rahangdale said. “In the past, such operations saw huge damage to property and a loss of lives. The teams contained the fire in the affected tank, and made the operation possible in just three days and two nights,” Rahangdale said.

The massive blaze had broken out at the oil terminal on Jawahar Dweep, a small island off Mumbai’s east coast, on Friday evening, prompting evacuation of staff. No casualties were reported, but firefighting operations launched from the sea were begun. Officials of the Mumbai Port Trust said a storage tank containing highspeed diesel caught fire at 4.35 pm.

Crude is stored on island; later shipped to refineries

Oil tankers bring crude oil to Butcher Island, and it is stored there before being shipped to refineries in Wadala. The post trust owns the island facility. “Witnesses said the blaze started because of lightning. One tank containing 30,000 kilo litres of HSD [highspeed diesel] caught fire,” said Yashodhan Wanage, the port trust’s deputy chairperson. “A Mumbai fire brigade team, led by divisional fire officer Karl D’Souza, left for the island on a speedboat.”

Sanjay Bhatia, chairperson of the Mumbai Port Trust, was in Delhi on Friday, but had sent senior officers to the scene. A BPCL spokesperson said Manohar Rao, executive director of health, security, safety and environment, was supervising the firefighting operation.

Anil Diggikar, chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, said it had sent two vessels with firefighting equipment.

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