One injured, six treated for smoke inhalation after Engen refinery explosion

4th December 2020 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

One injured, six treated for smoke inhalation after Engen refinery explosion

Engen refinery

One person has been injured and taken to hospital, while six have been treated for smoke inhalation, following Friday morning's explosion at an oil refinery in Wentworth, Durban.

Engen spokesperson Gavin Smith told Engineering News that the fire on site had been extinguished during the morning.

The company was still investigating the cause of the fire at the 120 000 bbl/d refinery.

Meanwhile, environmental organisation Greenpeace Africa said that the Engen refinery explosion was the third environmental disaster to hit KwaZulu-Natal within the last three months,

The prior incidents were a crude oil spill on Transnet’s watch into the Umbilo river, as well as a motor vehicle accident caused by a fuel tanker, which claimed 12 lives, reported Greenpeace.

“It is more apparent than ever before that what South Africa needs is a decisive phasing-out of the fossil fuel industry - this is a matter of life or death, an imperative to put people over profits.

“Air pollution is costing South Africa billions in healthcare and loss of lives. Rampant respiratory problems that have afflicted communities in the South Durban basin have been as a result of Engen’s operations, including other refinery-related processes," said Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Nhlanhla Sibisi.

He added that the community of Wentworth was regularly exposed to toxic gases which might cause respiratory diseases such as asthma, coughing, chest pain, choking, bronchitis, symptoms such as skin irritations, nausea and headaches, which are all common.

“This is not the first time, and it won't be the last unless decisive action is taken. The time for complacency is over."