(Eds: Adds Collector's quote) Visakhapatnam, May 25 (PTI) A major fire erupted at the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) plant here on Tuesday afternoon, but everyone working there was reported to be safe.

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," the Collector told reporters here.

Teams from HPCL apart, 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.

Sources said the fire broke out in the crude distillation unit-3 in the HPCL old terminal.

The fire sensors immediately came abuzz, alerting the staff around.

An emergency siren was immediately sounded following which the employees and workers rushed out of the unit.

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

Fire tenders inside the plant and also from outside were rushed in to put out the blaze.