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At least 20 people have been injured after a large fire erupted at one of the Indonesia's biggest oil refineries.

The victims, believed to be local residents and people standing nearby when the blaze started, were treated at hospital for burns – ranging from serious to minor – as flames engulfed the Balongan refinery in the country's West Java province.

About 950 residents had to be evacuated shortly after the fire broke out at the site, run by state oil firm Pertamina, at 12.45am local time on Monday morning (5.45pm GMT yesterday).

Firefighters continue to battle the flames, with footage at the scene showing enormous plumes of thick black smoke billowing high above the buildings.

"We smelled a strong fuel scent first, so strong that my nose hurt, while we heard lightning strikes," one nearby resident told local media.

The regional disaster management agency confirmed five people were being treated in hospital for serious burns, while a further 15 escaped with minor injuries.

The refinery it provides fuel and petrochemicals to Jakarta – Indonesia's capital.

Pertamina said "fuel delivery to the public is undisturbed and currently still ongoing" despite growing fears of a disruption to the supply of plastics and chemicals.

Mr Kurtubi, who is a member of the House of Representatives' commission for energy affairs, claimed the site was relatively new compared to other Pertamina refineries, having begun operating in 1994.

He also called for an investigation into the distances between oil refineries and residential zones.

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Concerned social media users questioned the cause of the blaze.

"Was there sabotage or is this a genuine accident?", one asked.

Another demanded to know how was responsible, writing: "The person who caused this must be taken to court."

A nearby village had to be evacuated to a number of camps, but Covid-19 regulations have hampered relief efforts.

Pertamina admitted the cause of the blaze remained a mystery, but revealed it started during heavy rain and lightning.

During a press conference, the firm added that the refinery's processing capabilities were not damaged and normal operation could potentially resume in the coming days.

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Pertamina CEO Nicke Widyawati told Reuters the blaze centred around the refinery tanks, leaving the processing plant unscathed.

The oil firm added that the site's refinery would be shut down and "oil flow control" checks would be carried out to stop the fire spreading.

The Balongan refinery is located approximately 200km east of the capital Jakarta. It spans more than 340 hectares and can process up to 125,000 barrels of oil per day.

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