Visakhapatnam, May 25 (PTI) A fire broke out at Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd's oil refinery in the city on Tuesday afternoon but it was doused within hours and there were no casualties.

The fire was noticed in a pipeline outside the primary unit that processes crude oil for conversion into fuel at around 15.00 hrs.

"Safety measures and firefighting was activated immediately," Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) said. "The fire has been extinguished. There is no casualty and no risk to the public." The fire may lead to shutting down of the crude distillation unit (CDU) for a few days.

"Fire at HPCL refinery at Visakhapatnam has been doused. There is no report of any casualty," the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas also tweeted.

HPCL runs a 8.3 million tonnes a year oil refinery at Visakhapatnam. The unit turns crude oil into value added fuels like petrol and diesel.

Emergency sirens were sounded immediately after the fire broke out, and employees and workers rushed out of the unit.

"There was a deafening sound like a blast and there was a ball of fire. The siren sounded and we all came running out to safety," a worker said, coming out of the plant.

Fire tenders at the plant and also from outside were rushed to the spot to put out the blaze.

"Fire has been extinguished. Cooling operations are in progress," a company official said. "There are no casualties and there is no risk to the public. The other refinery operations are continuing as normal." Visakhapatnam District Collector V Vinay Chand said the fire was doused quickly, averting major damage.

"There were no casualties nor was anyone injured in the mishap," he told reporters here.

Besides teams from HPCL, personnel from the Eastern Naval Command and the AP State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department swung into action and put out the blaze in a swift operation.