77 hurt, 6 critically, 17 missing as fire still rages at Cuban oil tank farm – WPLG Local 10

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Hatzel Vela, Reporter
Chris Gothner, Digital Journalist
Andrea Rodriguez
Related Press
Printed: August 6, 2022, 10:38 AM
Up to date: August 6, 2022, 5:26 PM
Hatzel Vela, Reporter
Chris Gothner, Digital Journalist
Andrea Rodriguez
Related Press
MATANZAS, Cuba – A fireplace set off by a lightning strike at an oil storage facility raged uncontrolled Saturday within the metropolis of Matanzas, the place 4 explosions and flames injured practically 80 folks and left 17 firefighters lacking, Cuban authorities stated.
Firefighters and different specialists had been nonetheless attempting to quell the blaze on the Matanzas Supertanker Base, the place the hearth started throughout a thunderstorm Friday night time, the Ministry of Vitality and Mines tweeted. The governmnt stated later that it had requested for assist from worldwide consultants in “pleasant international locations” 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 army helicopters flew overhead dropping water on the blaze, dense column of black smoke billowed from the ability and unfold westward greater than 100 kilometers (62 miles) towards Havana.
The Fb web page of the provincial authorities of Matanzas stated the variety of injured had reached 77, whereas 17 folks had been lacking. The Presidency of the Republic stated the 17 had been “firefighters who had been within the nearest space attempting to forestall the unfold.”
Three of these harm had been critically wounded, one other three had been gravely injured, state media reported.
10:00am: ⚠️ #UltimoMinuto‼️

🏥 El hospital provincial Comandante Faustino Pérez refiere que la cifra de lesionados aumenta a 77 personas.

‼️ Se encuentran desaparecidas 17 personas.

✍️ Gabriel Torres Rodríguez
📸 Raúl Navarro #FuerzaMatanzas #GobMtz #Radio26 pic.twitter.com/POEKxYlTjq
The accident comes as Cuba struggles with gasoline shortages. There was no speedy phrase on how a lot oil had burned or was at risk on the storage facility, which has eight big tanks that maintain oil used to gasoline electrical energy producing crops.
“I used to be within the gymnasium after I felt the primary explosion. A column of smoke and horrible fireplace rose by means of the skies,” resident Adiel Gonzalez informed The Related Press by telephone. “The town has a robust odor of sulfur.”
Authorities stated the Dubrocq neighborhood closest to the hearth was evacuated, whereas Gonzalez added that some folks determined to go away the Versailles district, which is slightly farther from the tank farm.
Many ambulances, police and fireplace engines had been seen within the streets of Matanzas, a metropolis with about 140,000 inhabitants that’s on Matnzas Bay.
Excuse the language, however video reportedly from when rescuers are working away from the hearth following an explosion in #Matanzas #Cuba. @WPLGLocal10 https://t.co/9fb7lDqc2l
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel traveled to the world of the hearth early Saturday, officers stated.
Native meteorologist Elier Pila confirmed satellite tv for pc photos of the world with a dense plume of black smoke shifting from the purpose of the hearth westward and reaching east to Havana.
“That plume could be near 150 kilometers lengthy,” Pila wrote on his Twitter account.
Images confirmed folks being handled for accidents at a close-by hospital.
Video despatched to Native 10 Information confirmed smoke nonetheless billowing from the scene Saturday morning.
There have been initial reports of deaths Saturday morning, although state-run media and authorities officers didn’t formally report any as of Saturday afternoon.
Associated social media:
#Cuban state run media says two tankers are on fireplace. One in every of them holds (if conversion is correct) 686847 gallons of nationwide petroleum. The opposite: double the quantity of imported oil. A really advanced scenario says this tweet! #FuerzaMatanza #Matanzas @WPLGLocal10 https://t.co/C4Q9cHnYbg
#CUBA: Take a look at this video despatched to me, taken 10 minutes in the past from the Versalles space in #Matanzas the place the heavy smoke travels over the rooftops of that neighborhood. @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/taPdye6nIg
Right here this journalist says he’s exiting town and urges folks dwelling within the Versalles área to go away and get so far as posible from burning web site. It’s not an exaggeration he says. By no means thought I’d see one thing like this, he provides. #Matanzas #Cuba @WPLGLocal10 https://t.co/UxYgXejuXA
In a single day the official #Cuban presidential @Twitter account posted this #drone video of one of many storage amenities. You possibly can see how shut they’re which is probably going the explanation the hearth has unfold in #Matanzas. @WPLGLocal10 https://t.co/HAmAQmMutD
This #meteorologist in #Cuba exhibits us the radar photos the place you may see the black smile touring from #Matanzas west to #Havana. @WPLGLocal10 https://t.co/mpNZK77ZTf
This can be a image out of #Matanzas #Cuba the place injured are being handled at hospital Faustino Perez. #Fire remains to be uncontrolled in northern coastal city. @WPLGLocal10 https://t.co/9JADdnyK1o
Copyright 2022 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved. The Related Press contributed to this report.
In January 2017, Hatzel Vela turned the primary native tv journalist within the nation to maneuver to Cuba and canopy the island from the within. Throughout his time dwelling and dealing in Cuba, he coated a number of the most important tales in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 
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Chris Gothner joined the Native 10 Information workforce in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.
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