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 power 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 have been lacking. The Presidency of the Republic stated the 17 have been “firefighters who have been within the nearest space making an attempt to stop the unfold.”
The accident comes as Cuba struggles with gasoline shortages. There was no quick phrase on how a lot oil had burned or was in peril on the storage facility, which has eight big tanks that maintain oil used to gasoline electrical energy producing vegetation.
“I used to be within the fitness center after I felt the primary explosion. A column of smoke and horrible hearth rose by way of the skies,” resident Adiel Gonzalez advised The Related Press by telephone. “The town has a powerful odor of sulfur.”
Authorities stated the Dubrocq neighborhood closest to the fireplace was evacuated, whereas Gonzalez added that some folks determined to depart the Versailles district, which is slightly farther from the tank farm.
Many ambulances, police and hearth engines have been seen within the streets of Matanzas, a metropolis with about 140,000 inhabitants that’s on Matnzas Bay.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel traveled to the world of the fireplace early Saturday, officers stated.
Native meteorologist Elier Pila confirmed satellite tv for pc photographs of the world with a dense plume of black smoke shifting from the purpose of the fireplace westward and reaching east to Havana.
“That plume could be near 150 kilometers lengthy,” Pila wrote on his Twitter account.
Andrea Rodríguez on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP