– One of the employees looked out and saw that there was a full over-ignition. Two other employees tried to extinguish themselves, but so quickly that it did not work. Then they evacuated the rest, and notified the fire service, says general manager Grethe Henriksen.
The fire at Henriksen Oljetransport AS was reported at 11.35.
At 16.30, operations manager Runar Heggen in the South-West police district reports that the fire service has control of the fire, and that the safety zone can be closed.
– The evacuees in the area can now return, Heggen says.
According to the police, it is too early to say anything about the cause of the fire.
Grethe Henriksen was on her way to work when she saw smoke in the distance.
– I did not understand that it burned with us until I received a fire message on the phone, she says.
Started in oil pit
Between 25 and 30 people from the fire service worked all afternoon at the site, where there is a lot of flammable goods.
The company with 16 employees operates a reception of all types of hazardous waste, such as used oil residues, paint, contaminated water and spray cans. In 2015, the reception moved from Kalhammaren in Stavanger to Mekjarvik.
– We have been doing this for 40 years, and we have never had a fire before. But we have practiced a lot on this. Fire has always been the great fear, says Henriksen.
The fire is said to have started in a pit that contained oil, among other things.
It spread on to a container with gas cylinders, and on to the warehouse and reception hall, which have collapsed.
The tank farm was cooled
The administration building or the tank farm never caught fire.
According to Grethe Henriksen, there is only water in some of the tanks, while others contain waste oil. Also, there is a small tank of diesel.
The fire brigade worked for several hours to cool down the tank facility.
– When we arrived at the scene this morning, gas cylinders exploded and all nearby buildings were evacuated, says operations manager in the South-West police district, Tom Erik Birkeland.
The fire service also received reports of an oil spill in the sea, and booms were placed to prevent this from spreading.
A safety distance of 300 meters was created around the container, which has now been closed down.
No injuries were reported in connection with the fire, but there has been a lot of smoke in the area, and people were asked to stay indoors.