The Jakarta Post
Fire engulfed the publicly listed cosmetics factory PT Mandom Indonesia in the MM2100 Industrial Area in Bekasi, West Java, on Friday morning, killing five workers and injuring 50 others.
Bekasi Regency police spokesperson First Insp. Makmur has confirmed that the blaze occurred at around 9:30 a.m. and eight fire trucks deployed by Bekasi Regency Fire Agency extinguished it within an hour.
'Five workers died in the fire and 50 people needed to be treated for burn injuries,' Makmur said during a telephone call on Friday.
All of the victims, Makmur said, were factory workers because the incident happened during working hours.
Makmur said that the five bodies were yet to be identified as they were burned beyond recognition. One of the five bodies was taken to Bekasi Regency General Hospital (RSUD) and the other four to the National Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.
Meanwhile, the 50 injured victims were taken to Hermina Grand Wisata Hospital, Permata Bekasi Hospital and Mitra Keluarga Hospital in East Bekasi.
'We will move 20 of the injured victims to RSCM [Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Central Jakarta] because they suffered severe burns,' Makmur said.
Makmur also confirmed that the fire, which ravaged the factory's production warehouse, was caused by a gas pipeline failure.
The police, Makmur said, had questioned four witnesses, one of whom said that he heard an explosion before the fire.
'But we have not yet calculated the financial damage that the fire has caused,' Makmur said.
Meanwhile, Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Mohammad Iqbal said that the National Police's forensics team from the central forensic laboratory (Labfor) had inspected the scene of the incident but the results had yet to be issued.
Jakarta Police's general crimes directorate chief Sr. Comr. Khrisna Murti said that the fire did not indicate any terrorism or sabotage.
'It was a pure workplace accident,' Khrisna said at the Jakarta Police's headquarters.
PT Mandom Indonesia has two factories at the location, a new one, in which the incident happened, and an old one.
Nyumarno, a union member and a councilor of Bekasi regency who deals with labor issues, said that the Bekasi Police had to wait for the forensic result to determine the precise cause.
'It was a new factory which had been in operation for less than two months. We have to find out whether it was human error or because the factory, although new, failed in its safety systems,' Nyumarno told The Jakarta Post.
Nyumarno went on to say that the incident was the biggest work-place accident recorded this year.
According to his data, complaints about workplace accidents from the entire Bekasi Regency increased by around 10 percent during the January-July period, compared to same period last year.
He said from May to July alone, the Bekasi Council received 12 complaints regarding workplace safety.
Nyumarno said that workers in chemical manufacturing and construction companies at the industrial area were the most prone to work accidents and also to diseases due to work-related chemical exposure, ranging from asthma, kidney and pulmonary problems.
'I have suggested to the local Manpower Agency to require all companies in the industrial area to equip their workers with safety tools and provide special training programs,' Nyumarno said. (foy)
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