17 missing, 121 injured in fire at Cuban oil facility
Published: 12:27 PM, 7 August 2022 Updated: 12:28 PM, 7 August 2022
A fire set off by a lightning strike at an oil warehouse in Cuba city of Matanzas, where four explosions and flames injured 121 people and left 17 firefighters missing. Cuban authorities said a unidentified body had been found late Saturday.
Firefighters and other specialists were on Saturday still trying to quell the blaze at the Matanzas Supertanker Base, where the fire began during a thunderstorm Friday night, the Ministry of Energy and Mines tweeted.
Authorities said about 800 people were evacuated from the Dubrocq neighbourhood closest to the fire.
The government said it had asked for help from international experts in friendly countries with experience in the oil sector.
Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernndez de Cosso said the US government had offered technical help to quell the blaze.
On his Twitter account, he said the proposal is in the hands of specialists for the due coordination.
Minutes later, President Miguel Daz-Canel thanked Mexico , Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile for their offers of help. A support flight from Mexico arrived on Saturday night.
The official Cuban News Agency said lightning hit one tank, starting a fire, and the blaze later spread to a second tank.
As military helicopters flew overhead dropping water on the blaze, dense column of black smoke billowed from the facility and spread westward more than 100 kilometers toward Havana.