Fuel storage tank blaze in Apia, Samoa
A LARGE fire has broken out in one of three fuel storage tanks in Apia, Samoa - leaving authorities concerned that the fire will spread to other tanks.
The blaze has broken out at the busy Matautu Wharf, with reports of a large explosion and thousands of people being evacuated from the area.
Dramatic photos of the tank billowing black smoke have been shared on social media, including one by Christchurch East MP Poto Williams.
According to the Coconet TV Facebook page: "Downtown Apia is being evacuated as one of three tankers caught fire at Matautu wharf, cause of fire currently under investigation but people in the area are being urged to leave."
Fire at fuel storage tank in Apia pic.twitter.com/XuuJui6unq— Poto Williams (@PotoChchEast) April 3, 2016
Samoa born Labour MP Su'a William Sio said he was in contact with friends in Apia, where one of the three fuel tanks was on fire.
"It seems police and the fire service have cordoned off the area and are trying to stop the fire from spreading to the other two tanks," he said.
"It's concerning because that whole area is quite busy with several restaurants, clubs and about four accommodation areas, plus shipping and customs offices for with several hundred staff."
Mr Sio said the port was also used by cargo and cruise ships, fishing boats and ferries to Tuvalu and American Samoa.
Samoa's Disaster Management Office (DMO) is warning people to stay away from the area.
"We advise the public to refrain from going towards the Matautu area due to an incident where one of the fuel tanks has caught fire. Current situation is unstable and unsafe for the travelling public. Please be vigilant," the organisation wrote on its Facebook page.
The Samoa Observer has reported that there are concerns that a second tank and a pipeline could explode in the area.