Hearth began by a lightning strike has engulfed an oil storage facility within the Cuban metropolis of Matanzas, setting off explosions and injuring 121 individuals. Seventeen firefighters have been lacking and one physique had been discovered, Cuban authorities stated.
The blaze on the Matanzas supertanker base started throughout a thunderstorm on Friday night time, the ministry of vitality and mines tweeted. The federal government stated later that it had requested for assist from worldwide specialists in “pleasant nations” with expertise within the oil sector.
The official Cuban information company stated 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, a dense column of black smoke billowed from the power and unfold westward greater than 100km (62 miles) towards Havana.
Roberto de la Torre, head of fireplace operations in Matanzas, stated firefighters have been spraying water on intact tanks attempting to maintain them cool in hopes of stopping the hearth from spreading.
A number of the injured have been taken to Calixto García hospital in Havana, which has a outstanding burn unit.
The accident 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 electricity-generating crops.
“I used to be within the health club once I felt the primary explosion. A column of smoke and horrible fireplace rose by means of the skies,” resident Adiel Gonzalez advised the Related Press. “Town has a powerful scent of sulphur.”
Authorities stated about 800 individuals have been evacuated from the Dubrocq neighbourhood closest to the hearth, whereas Gonzalez added that some individuals determined to depart the Versailles district, which is a bit of farther from the tank farm.
Many ambulances, police and fireplace engines have been seen within the streets of Matanzas, a metropolis with about 140,000 inhabitants on Matanzas Bay.
The Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, travelled to the realm of the hearth early Saturday, officers stated.
Miguel Díaz-Canel thanked Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile for his or her affords of assist. A assist flight from Mexico arrived on Saturday night time.
Native meteorologist Elier Pila confirmed satellite tv for pc pictures of the realm with a dense plume of black smoke transferring from the purpose of the hearth westward and reaching east to Havana.
“That plume will be near 150km lengthy,” Pila wrote on his Twitter account.