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17 lacking, dozens damage as hearth rages in Cuban oil tank farm


A hearth set off by a lightning strike at an oil storage facility raged uncontrolled Saturday within the metropolis of Matanzas, the place 4 explosions and flames injured almost 80 individuals, Cuban authorities mentioned. Seventeen firefighters are lacking.

Firefighters and different specialists had been nonetheless making an attempt to quell the blaze on the Matanzas Supertanker Base, the place the fireplace started throughout a thunderstorm Friday night time, the Ministry of Power and Mines tweeted. The federal government mentioned later that it had requested for assist from worldwide consultants in “pleasant nations” with expertise within the oil sector.

The official Cuban Information Company mentioned lightning hit one tank, beginning a fireplace, and the blaze later unfold to a second tank. As navy helicopters flew overhead dropping water on the blaze, dense column of black smoke billowed from the power and unfold westward greater than 100 kilometers (62 miles) towards Havana.

Cuba Oil Fire
Employees of the Cuba Oil Union, identified by the Spanish acronym CUPET, watch an enormous rising plume of smoke from the Matanzas Supertanker Base, as firefighters work to quell a blaze which started throughout a thunderstorm the night time earlier than, in Matazanas, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. Cuban authorities say lightning struck a crude oil storage tank on the base, inflicting a fireplace that led to 4 explosions which injured greater than 50 individuals.

Ramon Espinosa / AP


The provincial authorities of Matanzas’ Fb web page mentioned the variety of injured had reached 77, whereas 17 individuals had been lacking. The Presidency of the Republic mentioned the 17 had been “firefighters who had been within the nearest space making an attempt to stop the unfold.”

The incident comes as Cuba struggles with gas shortages. There was no instant phrase on how a lot oil had burned or was in peril on the storage facility, which has eight large tanks that maintain oil used to gas electrical energy producing vegetation.

“I used to be within the health club after I felt the primary explosion. A column of smoke and horrible hearth rose by the skies,” resident Adiel Gonzalez instructed The Related Press by telephone. “Town has a powerful odor of sulfur.”

Cuba Oil Fire
A helicopter carrying water flies over the Matanzas Supertanker Base, as firefighters attempt to quell the blaze which started throughout a thunderstorm the night time earlier than, in Matazanas, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. 

Ramon Espinosa / AP


Authorities mentioned the Dubrocq neighborhood closest to the fireplace was evacuated, whereas Gonzalez added that some individuals determined to go away the Versailles district, which is just a little farther from the tank farm.

Many ambulances, police and hearth engines had been seen within the streets of Matanzas, a metropolis with about 140,000 residents and positioned on Matnzas Bay.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel traveled to the world of the fireplace early Saturday, officers mentioned.

Native meteorologist Elier Pila confirmed satellite tv for pc photographs of the world with a dense plume of black smoke transferring from the purpose of the fireplace westward and reaching east to Havana.

“That plume may be near 150 kilometers lengthy,” Pila wrote on his Twitter account.

Cuba Oil Fire
Folks watch an enormous rising plume of smoke from the Matanzas Supertanker Base, as firefighters attempt to quell a blaze which started throughout a thunderstorm the night time earlier than, in Matazanas, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. 

Ramon Espinosa / AP




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