No deaths or injuries were reported after an oil tank burst into flames Saturday night in Dayawan, Guangdong Province.
The fire was extinguished after one hour and quick thinking by emergency rescue workers prevented the oil leak from spreading.
Guangzhou Daily reported that the oil tank caught fire at 2 am Saturday in a refinery at the Dayawan Petrochemicals Industrial Park in Huizhou.
The tank, belonging to the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), contained coking oil, used to burn coal into coke, for use in the steel-making industry.
The spectacular blaze lit up the night sky and the flames could be seen 20 kilometers away, forming a giant mushroom cloud.
Firefighters rushed to the rescue and doused the flames, preventing oil from leaking.
Primary estimates indicated that the economic loss could exceed 600,000 yuan ($ 882,352).
The fire could have been worse. Coking oil, a refined petroleum product, can burn at temperatures as high as 180 C.
When the fire ignited, the tank's valve was closed, which prevented an explosion and kept the fire from spreading.
Wang Xibo, director of the Huizhou Environmental Protection Bureau, said that a special technology team, including law enforcement officials and pollution monitors, were dispatched to the scene as soon as the accident happened.
"From the inspection results, we found that all waste water was directed into a monitoring pool and no oil spill was detected. The air quality was up to standard, which means the accident caused no pollution in the local environment," he said.
The cause of the accident was still under investigation.
Huizhou Party secretary Huang Yebin and Mayor Li Ruqiu ordered that special attention should be paid to the accident and that the cause should be quickly determined.
"Post-accident work such as daily safety management and worker safety training should be implemented to prevent a similar accident from happening again," Dong Xiali, general manager of CNOOC at Huizhou oil refinery subsidiary, told China News Services Sunday.
He added that an investigative team was trying to determine the cause.
On July 16, a pipeline explosion in Dalian, a port city in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, created a massive oil spill in the Yellow Sea.
Over 1,000 fishing boats were mobilized to join the cleanup operation at sea. Meanwhile, a great number of volunteers came to the shore to clear up crude oil.