17 missing, dozens hurt as fire rages in Cuban oil tank farm

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People watch an enormous emerging plume of smoke led to through a blaze on the Matanzas Supertanker Base, in Matazanas, Cuba, Saturday. Cuban government say lightning struck a crude oil garage tank on the base, inflicting a fireplace that resulted in 4 explosions which injured greater than 50 other people. (Ramon Espinosa, Associated Press)

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HAVANA — A fireplace spark off through a lightning strike at an oil garage facility raged out of control Saturday within the town of Matanzas, the place 4 explosions and flames injured just about 80 other people and left 17 firefighters lacking, Cuban government stated.

Firefighters and different consultants had been nonetheless seeking to quell the blaze on the Matanzas Supertanker Base, the place the hearth started all over a thunderstorm Friday night time, the Ministry of Energy and Mines tweeted. The executive stated later that it had requested for lend a hand from global professionals in “pleasant international locations” with revel in within the oil sector.

The respectable Cuban News Agency stated lightning hit one tank, beginning a fireplace, and the blaze later unfold to a 2d tank. As army helicopters flew overhead losing water at the blaze, a dense column of black smoke billowed from the power and unfold westward greater than 62 miles towards Havana.

Roberto de l. a. Torre, head of fireplace operations in Matanzas, stated firefighters had been spraying water on intact tanks seeking to stay them cool in hopes of stopping the hearth from spreading.

The Facebook web page of the provincial executive of Matanzas stated the choice of injured had reached 77, whilst 17 other people had been lacking. The Presidency of the Republic stated the 17 had been “firefighters who had been within the nearest house seeking to save you the unfold.”

Seven of the injured had been taken to Calixto García Hospital in Havana, which has a outstanding burn unit.

The coincidence comes as Cuba struggles with gas shortages. There was once no speedy phrase on how a lot oil had burned or was once in peril on the garage facility, which has 8 massive tanks that dangle oil used to gas electrical energy producing crops.

“I used to be within the gymnasium once I felt the primary explosion. A column of smoke and horrible hearth rose during the skies,” resident Adiel Gonzalez advised The Associated Press through telephone. “The town has a robust odor of sulfur.”

Authorities stated about 800 other people had been evacuated from the Dubrocq community closest to the hearth, whilst Gonzalez added that some other people determined to depart the Versailles district, which is a little bit further from the tank farm.

Many ambulances, police and hearth engines had been noticed within the streets of Matanzas, a town with about 140,000 population this is on Matanzas Bay.

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

Workers of the Cuba Oil Union, known by the Spanish acronym CUPET, watch a huge rising plume of smoke from the Matanzas Supertanker Base, as firefighters work to quell a blaze that began during a thunderstorm the night before, in Matazanas, Cuba, Saturday. Cuban authorities say lightning struck a crude oil storage tank at the base, causing a fire that led to four explosions that injured more than 50 people.
Workers of the Cuba Oil Union, recognized through the Spanish acronym CUPET, watch an enormous emerging plume of smoke from the Matanzas Supertanker Base, as firefighters paintings to quell a blaze that started all over a thunderstorm the night time ahead of, in Matazanas, Cuba, Saturday. Cuban government say lightning struck a crude oil garage tank on the base, inflicting a fireplace that resulted in 4 explosions that injured greater than 50 other people. (Photo: Ramon Espinosa, Associated Press)

Local 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 hearth westward and attaining east to Havana.

“That plume can also be with regards to 150 kilometers lengthy,” Pila wrote on his Twitter account.

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