Tragedy in Cuba: at least one dead, 17 missing and 121 injured in a fuel fire

Tragedy in Cuba: at least one dead, 17 missing and 121 injured in a fuel fire

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One dead, 121 injured and 17 missing is the provisional balance of the explosion of two fuel tanks in the city of killings, in the west of Cuba, where the anxiety continues due to the fire that is not extinguished.

Louis Wong, Provincial Director of Health of Matanzas, said in a press conference that “a corpse has been recovered at the accident site” and that the specialists are “identifying” it.

He added that of the 121 wounded, almost all from burns, 85 were discharged, 36 are hospitalized, of which five are in critical condition.

Likewise, 17 missing persons are reported. Are “firefighters who were in the closest area” to the fire, the presidency said in its Twitter account Twitter and added that “Cuba requested help and advice from friendly countries with experience in the oil issue.”

The answer came quickly: “We express deep gratitude to the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina Y Chili, who have promptly offered solidary material aid in the face of this complex situation,” said President Miguel Diaz-Canel On twitter.

“We also appreciate the offer of technical advice from USA”, added. vice chancellor Carlos Fernandez de Cosso He said that the US proposal “is already in the hands of specialists for proper coordination.”

Daz-Canel commented that the extinction of the fire “may take time”, while the director of Trade and Supply of the state Cuba-Petroleum Union (Cupet), Asbel Leal, He specified that the country had never faced a fire of “the magnitude that we have today.”

The fire broke out on Friday afternoon after at 7:00 p.m. local time, lightning will hit one of the tanks from the supertanker base located on the outskirts of Matanzas, 100 kilometers east of Havana. At 05:00 this Saturday the fire spread to a second warehouse.

“We ran away”

“You felt the noise, like a wave of air that took you back,” he told AFP Laura Martinez, neighbor of the community of the rancher, about two kilometers from the accident area.

According to the Matanzas authorities, the number of evacuated rose to 1900 people. When the first explosion occurred, Yuney Hernandez and his family left their home in La Ganadera. They returned “about three-odd in the morning” because the children were sleepy, this 32-year-old woman explained to AFP.

But around 0500 they began to hear more explosions, “it felt like pieces of the tank were falling,” he added.

Ramon EspinosaAP

Ginelva Hernandez, 33 years old, lives in the same community with her husband and three children. “We went to bed around 3:30 and 4:45, the bombings were felt, like thunder. We jumped out of bed, when we went out into the street the sky was yellow,” the woman told AFP. “The fear of the people on the street is uncontrollable,” she noted.

According to Cupet, the first deposit “contained some 26,000 cubic meters of national crude oil, about 50% of its maximum capacity,” when it was struck by lightning. The second tank had 52,000 cubic meters of fuel oil.

“Lightning Rod Failure”

“Apparently there was a fault in the lightning rod system, which could not withstand the energy of the electrical discharge,” according to Granma.

Danger Richard, a 37-year-old welder who works on site, does not explain how the lightning rod system on the tanks failed. The two tanks supply the thermoelectric Antonio Guiteras, the largest in Cuba, but pumping to that plant has not stopped, added Granma.

Several helicopters began to pour seawater into extinction tasks, work stopped in the afternoon due to an increase in the flames. At the end of the afternoon, with a minor fire, it was resumed in front of the bay of Matanzas, a city of 140,000 inhabitants.

The fire occurs at a time when the island has been experiencing difficulties since last May to meet the increased demand for energy due to the summer heat.

The obsolescence of its eight thermoelectric plants, breakages, scheduled maintenance and lack of fuel hamper electricity generation.

Since May, the authorities have scheduled blackouts of up to 12 hours a day in some regions of the country. Since then there have been twenty protests in towns in the interior of the island.

Cuba currently has a average power distribution capacity of 2,500 megawatts, insufficient for the demand of households during times of maximum consumption, which reaches 2,900 megawatts, according to official information.


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