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VIDEO: New explosion reported at oil facility in Cuba

At least three tanks storing millions of liters of crude oil go up in flames

August 8, 2022 10:11am

Updated: August 8, 2022 8:23pm

A new explosion in the Industrial Zone of Matanzas province, in northern Cuba, was reported at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Monday. At least three tanks storing millions of liters of crude oil and fuel oil are on fire after lightning struck them last Friday. 

According to an official of the state oil company, this is the largest fire ever recorded on the island.

The new explosion was confirmed by several Internet users on social networks and minutes later by the government-run press.

"Another explosion has just occurred in #Matanzas," posted journalist Mario J. Pentón on Twitter and shared a video of the incident.

The images show a large plume of smoke and fire in the sky over the city.

Following reports on social media, the Noticiero del Mediodía of the regime's television and the pro-government media Cubadebate confirmed the recent explosion. So far it is not known whether it came from the second or third tank, according to the state press.

Cuban activist and reporter Jancel Moreno posted on Twitter that people in Versalles, the neighborhood closest to the burned Industrial Zone, are self-evacuating.

"All the residents began to leave, fleeing, self-evacuating, because of the danger of a new explosion of one of the tanks. The information is very scarce. We do not know what could happen. Let's hope that the tank does not explode. The whole neighborhood is in a stampede. It looks like a catastrophe", explained Moreno minutes before the new explosion.

According to the official report, three of the eight tanks in the Industrial Zone have collapsed, causing the loss of millions of liters of crude oil and fuel that were in storage.

The fire in the fuel reserves of Matanzas has left one dead and 14 firemen missing, according to the official press. Cuba's Ministry of Public Health (Minsap) reported in its latest report that of the 125 people injured, 24 are still hospitalized and 101 patients have been discharged from the hospital.

About 5,000 inhabitants of the surrounding area have been evacuated, said the governor of Matanzas, Mario Sabines.

The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment also claimed on Sunday at a press conference that the fire caused an increase in gas emissions and, therefore, pollution.