The police on Tuesday said that five people have been booked in relation to an oil storage tank fire last month, holding an oil pipeline company and a construction worker responsible for the accident.
Goyang Police Station, which has been investigating the case in Gyeonggi Province, said it booked three officials including the district chief from Daehan Oil Pipeline Corp. without detention for violating the Oil Pipeline Safety Control Act.
The police also booked a former labor supervisor at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy for fabricating an official document to falsely claim that flame prevention alarms were properly installed at the storage tanks in 2014.
A 27-year-old Sri Lankan national, whose sky lantern flew to the gasoline storage tanks and triggered the explosion, was also indicted without detention. Police are reviewing whether to charge him for causing the fire by negligence, and are expected to summon him for investigation again next week.
The fire broke out when one of 14 gasoline storage tanks of the Daehan Oil Pipeline Corp., located in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, exploded at around 10:56 a.m. on Oct. 7. Police concluded the explosion was triggered by the sky lantern, which landed on grass near the storage tanks.
The fire lasted for 17 hours and burned about 2.82 million liters of gasoline in one of the tanks. No one was injured, but it caused damage worth 11.7 billion won ($10.4 million), including the cost of repairs.
On the day of the incident, four people were on shift, and one of them was in the monitoring room with surveillance screens, but was carrying out other duties, according to police.
The police investigation revealed that the fire prevention system at the oil facility was poorly maintained. For instance, a safety net preventing combustible hazards from entering the facility was damaged, and dried grass had piled up around the area.
According to police, only one flame prevention device was installed for 10 ventilation pipes, which made it impossible to control the blaze when it began.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)