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17 missing, dozens injured in fire at Cuban oil tank farm

Fires caused by lightning strikes at an oil storage facility raged out of control in the city of Matanzas on Saturday, where four explosions and flames injured nearly 80 people, according to Cuban officials. . 17 firefighters are missing.

Firefighters and other experts were trying to extinguish a fire at the Matanzas supertanker base, which broke out during a thunderstorm Friday night, the Ministry of Energy and Mines tweeted. The government later said it sought help from international experts from “friendly countries” with experience in the oil sector.

The official Cuban news agency said lightning struck one tank, causing it to catch fire and the flames later spreading to a second tank. A thick column of smoke billowed from the facility and stretched over 100 kilometers (62 miles) west toward Havana.

cuban oil fire
Workers from the Cuban Petroleum Union, known by the Spanish acronym CUPET, see a huge plume of smoke rising from the Matanzas supertanker base. Firefighters work Saturday in Matazanas, Cuba, to contain flames that started during the previous night’s thunderstorm. August 6, 2022. Cuban officials say a lightning strike hit the base’s crude oil storage tanks, causing a fire that caused him to explode four times and injure more than 50 people.

Ramon Espinosa/AP


The state government on its Facebook page in Matanzas said the number of injured had reached 77 and 17 were missing. The Republican President’s Office said the 17 were “firefighters who were in the nearest area trying to prevent the spread.”

This incident comes at a time when Cuba is suffering from a fuel shortage. There is no immediate announcement on how much oil has burned or is at risk at the storage facility, which has eight huge tanks that store oil used to fuel power plants. was.

“I was in the gym when I felt the first explosion. Smoke and a terrifying pillar of fire shot up the sky,” resident Adiel Gonzalez told the Associated Press by phone. “This town smells strongly of sulfur.”

cuban oil fire
A helicopter carrying water flies over the Matanzas supertanker base in Matazanas, Cuba, Saturday, August 6, 2022, as firefighters try to put out a fire that started during a thunderstorm the previous night.

Ramon Espinosa/AP


Authorities said the Dubrok neighborhood closest to the fire had been evacuated, but Gonzalez added that some people had decided to leave the Versailles neighborhood, a short distance from the tank yard.

Dozens of ambulances, police and fire engines were seen on the streets of Matanzas, with a population of about 140,000, facing the Bay of Matanzas.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel headed to the scene of the fire early Saturday morning, officials said.

Local meteorologist Elier Pila showed satellite images of the area with a dense plume of black smoke moving west from the spot of the fire and reaching Havana in the east.

“The plume could be close to 150 kilometers long,” Pila wrote on his Twitter account.

cuban oil fire
A huge plume of smoke rises from the Matanzas supertanker base in Matazanas, Cuba, Saturday, August 6, 2022, as firefighters try to quell the flames that began during the previous night’s thunderstorm.

Ramon Espinosa/AP


17 missing, dozens injured in fire at Cuban oil tank farm

Source link 17 missing, dozens injured in fire at Cuban oil tank farm

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