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.”
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.
With Post wires