22 Sep 2022 17:51 GMT
The authorities of the province of Neuquén reported that one of the main crude tanks collapsed and caused an “uncontrolled fire”.
Three people died in the early hours of this Thursday when an explosion and subsequent fire occurred at an oil refinery in the province of Neuquén, in southern Argentina.
The incident took place at the New American Oil (NAO) refinery, located in the town of Plaza Huincul, in the Patagonian district, and the authorities reported that there are workers who remain missing.
A total of 15 fire crews from the region acted in the place, who managed to control the flames after 8 hours of work, reported The Morning of Neuquen. At 4:00 AM (local time) the incident had started.
The mayor of Plaza Huincul, Gustavo Suárez, confirmed that so far there are three people who have died after the explosion.
From Civil Defense and Citizen Protection they indicated that until now they could not specify how many are the missing people, but indicated that “it would be workers who were inside the plant at the time of the explosion”https://t.co/y6vd5oaNpKpic.twitter.com/55vElWjVRV
—Telam Agency (@TelamAgency) September 22, 2022
“One of the main crude oil tanks exploded, the explosion and the shock wave were very strong”affirmed Suárez in declarations to radio LU5and added that “they are trying to contain it, especially that it does not spread to other adjoining tanks and that they do not explode.”
⭕ #Neuquen | Urgent: the police confirm that there are 3 people dead in the explosion of a refinery in Plaza Huincul. In recent years, the risks resulting from the expansion of oil exploitation have multiplied. pic.twitter.com/2B29o3Wuur
— Journalism of the Left (@PeriodismoDeIzq) September 22, 2022
For his part, the second head of the local Volunteer Fire Department, Ernesto Karstan, pointed out that “it’s a wildfire”and that due to the risky characteristics of the place, the work is complicated: “We entered and had to evacuate due to the collapse of the tank,” said the firefighter.
Karstan also explained that the fire affected the trucks that were in the refinery and that there are still people who cannot be located.
After the tragic fire that caused the death of three workers, the Private Oil and Gas Union of Río Negro, Neuquén and La Pampa launched a total stoppage of activities “because of disregard for life and safety.”
“Fed up with the lack of commitment to the lives of the workers, the executive committee of the Private Oil and Gas Union of Río Negro, Neuquén and La Pampa decided to launch a total stoppage of activities in the territorial scope of the organization“, indicated the union through a release.