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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

At least 17 Cuban firefighters missing after HUGE explosion at oil refinery

A massive explosion triggered by a lightning strike has left at least 17 firefighters missing after they were deployed to tackle the initial fire.

As reported by the Cuban presidency today, Saturday, August 6, at least 17 firefighters are missing after a fire caused an explosion in the western city of Matanzas. A lightning strike caused the initial blaze when it hit storage tanks containing crude oil at around 7pm local time.

According to reports, around 67 people have been injured, with three in critical condition. The affected crude oil tanks, with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters, are located at the Supertanker Base in an industrial area of ​​Matanzas, near the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant. one of the largest in Cuba.

Firefighters have not yet brought the blaze under control, and local media has reported a large column of thick black smoke extending from the scene of the incident. It is apparently visible from the capital, Havana, which is about 100km away.

Miguel Diaz-Canel, the Cuban president, and prime minister, Manuel Marrero, both travelled to Matanzas at dawn. They observed the event unfolding and visited the wounded at the nearby Faustino Perez provincial hospital.

 

State television reported that some families from Matanzas had been evacuated from the neighbourhoods of the city closest to the affected industrial area, due to the risk of the flames spreading. 

After the lightning strike ignited the crude oil tanks, the fire quickly spread to a warehouse. It looked as though the firefighters had it under control at this point but a strong wind blew the flames in the direction of a second storage tank, which subsequently exploded, as reported by ultimahora.es.

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