17 Missing, 121 Hurt, 1 Dead In Fire At Cuban Oil Facility

Havana – A lightning-fire broke out at an oil storage facility within the Cuban metropolis of Matanzas, the place 4 explosions and flames left 121 folks injured and 17 firefighters lacking. Cuban officers mentioned an unidentified physique was discovered late Saturday.

The Ministry of Power and Mines tweeted, “Firefighters and different specialists are nonetheless making an attempt to douse the fireplace at Matanjas Supertanker Base, the place the fireplace broke out throughout a thunderstorm Friday night time. Officers mentioned about 800 folks have been evacuated from the Dubrok neighborhood closest to the fireplace,

The federal government mentioned it had sought assist from worldwide specialists from “pleasant international locations” with expertise within the oil sector.

Deputy Secretary of State Carlos Fernández de Cosio mentioned the US authorities had provided technical help to extinguish the fireplace. “The proposal is within the palms of specialists for correct coordination,” he mentioned on his Twitter account.

Minutes later, President Miguel Diaz-Canel thanked Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile for his or her provides of assist. A assist flight from Mexico arrived on Saturday night time.

The official Cuban information company mentioned lightning struck one tank, inflicting the fireplace and the fireplace later unfold to a different tank. As navy helicopters took off pouring water over the fireplace, a thick column of black smoke billowed from the ability and unfold greater than 100 kilometers (62 mi) west towards Havana.

Roberto de la Torre, head of the firefighting operations in Matanzas, mentioned firefighters have been spraying water on tanks making an attempt to maintain them cool, hoping to cease the fireplace from spreading.

Cuba’s well being ministry mentioned 121 folks have been injured, 5 of them in important situation. The Presidency of the Republic mentioned the 17 lacking have been “firefighters who have been within the closest space making an attempt to cease the unfold.”

Afterward Saturday, the well being ministry mentioned in a press release {that a} physique had been discovered and officers have been making an attempt to determine it.

The crash comes as Cuba is battling gasoline shortages. There was no instant phrase on how a lot oil had burned or was at risk on the storage facility, which homes eight big tanks that maintain oil used to gasoline power-generating vegetation.

“I used to be within the gymnasium after I felt the primary explosion. A column of smoke and horrible fireplace rose from the sky,” resident Adil Gonzalez informed The Related Press over the telephone. “Town smells of sulfur.”

He mentioned some folks even determined to go away the Versailles district, which is slightly farther from the tank farm than Dubrok.

Many ambulances, police and fireplace engines have been seen on the streets of Matanzas, a metropolis with about 140,000 inhabitants, on Matanzas Bay.

Native meteorologist Elier Pila confirmed satellite tv for pc photographs of the realm with a thick plume of black smoke transferring west from the purpose of the fireplace and reaching Havana within the east.

“That plume might be about 150 kilometers lengthy,” Pila wrote on her Twitter account.


Andrea Rodriguez on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP

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