A blast, followed by a fire, occurred at the Petromidia Navodari Refinery on Monday afternoon, leaving one dead and three injured. Petromidia provides 40 percent of Romania’s refining capacity and is the only refinery located at the Black Sea.
According to union leader of the Petromidia Refinery Platform Petre Tancau, the fire was caused by a DDV hydraulic pump in a pre-refinement installation. Constanta Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (ISU) representatives stated that the first firefighter crews to arrive at the site of the fire belonged to the private company that provides services to the Petromidia Refinery. According to ISU Dobrogea spokesperson Anca Chirita, five ISU firefighter crews arrived at the scene. The fire was extinguished at around 7.30 pm.
The four victims, who were working at the refinery at the time of the incidents, were transported to hospitals in Bucharest with burns on large parts of their bodies. The four injured were initially supposed to fly to Bucharest aboard two helicopters, a SMURD EC 135 and an MI-17 helicopter, however, due to severe weather conditions they were transported by ambulances.
Out of the four, a 48-year-old welding engineer who had burns on 90 percent of his body, was transported to the Bagdasar Arseni Hospital on Tuesday morning where he later died. According to Mircea Gorgan, the hospital’s medical director, the second patient injured in the fire will have his feeding tube removed today. “We hope he will be out of vital danger, but we are reserved,” Gorgan told the press.
Petromidia Navodari ensures 40 percent of Romania’s refining capacity and represents 30 percent of the fuel consumption in the region. The only Romanian refinery located on the Black Sea coast, Petromidia has a processing capacity of 5 million tons per year. The majority shareholder of Rompetrol Rafinare, which operates Petromidia, is KMG International, whose sole shareholder is KazMunayGas. The Romanian state owns 44.69 percent of Petromidia shares.
On Tuesday, KMG International expressed condolences to the family of the victim, who was working at the Petromidia refinery as an engineer. “We are sending the deepest condolences to his family and friends, our thoughts go to them. I.B., 48 years-old, was a colleague at Rominserv, working as welding engineer,” the KMG International message reads.
According to the latest reports, prosecutors have initiated criminal investigations at the site of the Petromidia Navodari Refinery fire.