A lighting bolt sparked a massive fire and four explosions at a Cuban oil storage facility Friday, leaving 121 people injured and 17 firefighters unaccounted for, and 1 person dead.

The inferno broke out when lighting hit a tank at the Matanzas Supertanker Base and started a fire that spread to a second tank, according to state media.

Billowing smoke could be seen in Havana, 65 miles away.

One body was recovered at the base Saturday as some 800 people were evacuated from a nearby neighborhood, authorities said.

“I was in the gym when I felt the first explosion. A column of smoke and terrible fire rose through the skies,” Matanzas resident Adiel Gonzalez said. “The city has a strong smell of sulfur.”

Cuban oil fire
At least one person died and 121 people were injured by the fire.
AP
Cuban oil fire
17 firefighters are unaccounted for.
AP
Cuba oil fire
Cuba asked for help from “friendly countries.”
AP
Workers of the Cuba Oil Union, known by the Spanish acronym CUPET, watch a huge rising plume of smoke from the Matanzas Supertanker Base
Workers of the Cuba Oil Union watch as firefighters work to extinguish a massive fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base.
AP

Firefighters were frantically working to keep the fire from spreading to six other tanks as officials had asked for help from “friendly countries” with oil sector experience.

A support plane from Mexico arrived Saturday as Cuba thanked the US, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile for offering aid.

The oil in the tanks is used to fuel electricity generating plants. The blaze comes as Cuba continues to grapple with an oil shortage.

Cuba oil fire
Smoke could be seen 65 miles away from the facility in Havana.
AP
Cuba oil fire
A helicopter dumps water over the Matanzas Supertanker Base.
AP
The fire hit while Cuba is in the midst of an oil shortage.
AP
A member of the Interior Ministry injured while trying to help in rescue efforts returns to help, near the Matanzas Supertanker Base
A member of the Interior Ministry injured while trying to help in rescue efforts returns to help, near the Matanzas Supertanker Base.
AP
Members of the Cuban Red Cross prepare to be transported to the Matanzas Supertanker Base
Members of the Cuban Red Cross prepare to be transported to the Matanzas Supertanker Base.
AP

With Post wires



Source link

Author

Comments are closed.