Thousands Flee Homes After Oil Refinery Blast

From Times Wire Reports

About 7,000 people from 10 villages were being housed in government offices a day after gas from an explosion at a refinery drove them from their homes.

No deaths were reported but about 150 people were hospitalized with respiratory problems after inhaling gas. The blast rocked a Pertamina-PetroChina oil refinery in eastern Java, about 350 miles east of Jakarta, as workers tried to contain a gas leak by igniting it, police said.

Although the fire has been extinguished, police said, the evacuees will not be allowed to return to their homes until the area is safe.