"A leak at a liquid gas pipeline at the facility sparked the fire," said Mansour Darajati
An enormous fire broke out Wednesday evening at the main oil refinery serving the Iranian capital Tehran, sending thick plumes of black smoke over the city.
More than an hour after the blaze started, flames and thick clouds of black smoke could be seen reaching high into the sky from across Tehran, according to an AFP correspondent.
An "accident was caused by a leak from an emergency liquified gas line," triggering "an explosion which caused the start of the fire that we can observe," Tehran crisis team chief Mansour Darajati told state television.
Mojtaba Khaledi, the spokesman for Iran’s emergency department, told the semiofficial ISNA news agency that 10 ambulances and other equipment had been deployed at the scene of the fire. Hospitals in the area are on standby as well, he said. There are not yet any confirmed reports of injuries or death.
The cause of the fire is still undetermined, although temperatures in Tehran reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday. Hot summer weather in Iran has caused fires in the past.
A spokesman for the Tondgooyan Petrochemical Co. dismissed speculation regarding an act of sabotage, according to state television's Telegram channel. It is likely, however, that this assertion could be judged with some skepticism, as previous denials about what appear to be accidents at sensitive Iranian nuclear and military sites have subsequently been found to be acts of deliberate damage.