Third oil tank hit by major fire in Cuba – News

A third depot at the Matanzas fuel storage base, in western Cuba, caught fire and collapsed on Monday (8), authorities said as they sought to contain the fire, which started last Friday (5) and left at least one dead and 16 missing.

The fire on the outskirts of Matanzas, a city of 140,000 inhabitants 100 kilometers east of Havana, started after lightning struck one of the eight tanks that make up this fuel storage plant.

About 5,000 people were evacuated from the outskirts of the disaster region, officials said.

On Monday, provincial governor Mario Sabines told state television that a third tank had collapsed.

“The third tank also collapsed after fuel leaked from the second and further compromised the situation overnight,” he said.

He noted that the situation is “very complex”, with “three tanks on fire” and the fire area “quite wide”.

Sabines said “teams” from Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela are positioning themselves to spread the extinguishing foam, which “may take a while”.

“The work to fight a fire that does not give in is intensified. Another decisive day,” the Cuban Presidency said on Twitter.

According to state-owned Cubapetróleos, the first tank affected contained 26 million liters of crude oil, that is, 50% of its capacity.

With 52 million liters of fuel oil inside, a second tank exploded at midnight on Sunday, spreading part of the burning contents.

The third tank also had a capacity of 52 million liters, but officials did not specify how much crude oil was in it.

mask use

According to the latest medical report, the fire killed a 60-year-old firefighter. In total, 125 wounded were treated, 24 of whom are still hospitalized, five of them in a critical condition and two in a serious condition. Most have burns.

Health officials said they continued intensive monitoring for respiratory and other illnesses that could be associated with the toxic elements.

“So far, an increase in these diseases has not been identified in any of the provinces”, indicated the Ministry of Health, which recommended that the vulnerable population wear a mask in areas of concentration of smoke and avoid exposing themselves to rain in these places.

Relatives of the missing met with President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Sunday at a hotel in Matanzas, where they are treated by doctors and psychologists.

“My son did his duty, he took a step forward,” the mother of a 19-year-old firefighter who was at the base of the supertanker early Saturday morning, when the fire started at the second depot, told AFP.

The disaster comes as the island, with an outdated power grid and persistent fuel shortages, faces increasing difficulties meeting energy demand.

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