February 6, 2023

One person was killed, 17 people were missing, at least 122 others were injured, and hundreds were evacuated after a lightning strike caused a massive fire at the Cuban oil storage facility in Matanzas.

During Friday’s storm, a tank of lightning struck the facility, causing it to catch fire and another tank nearby to catch fire.

“This morning was, once again, difficult,” the Cuban presidency wrote on Twitter in a statement on Sunday. Firefighters continue to fight intense fires as help comes from friendly countries. Today will be a pivotal day in our struggle for life.”

According to the county government, the two containers contained 26,000 cubic meters of petroleum and 50,000 cubic meters of fuel oil. A column of smoke and fire has been rising over the facility for days.

Officials said they recovered the remains of firefighter Juan Carlos Santana Garrido at the Matanzas Supertanker base site on Saturday.

Cuban Ministry of Public Health “We regret this loss to his family and friends and send our heartfelt condolences” He wrote on his website.

Cuban President Miguel Dias Canel Bermúdez met Sunday with those injured in the fire, as well as families of the missing.

Teams of firefighters from Mexico and Venezuela are on the ground in Cuba to help with the blaze.

“Welcome to our Mexican brothers,” the president wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “We are counting on your expertise and solidarity to continue fighting the fire at Matanzas Supertanker Base. Thank you [Mexican] President Lopez Obrador for the immediate response to our necessity.”

Military helicopters dropped water on the facility, and officials hope to keep the remaining fuel tanks cool to avoid further escalation of the situation.

Nearly 800 people were evacuated from the nearby neighborhood of Dubruk.

“I was in the gym when I felt the first blast. A plume of smoke and horrific fire billowed into the sky,” resident Adele Gonzalez told The Associated Press on Saturday. “The city has a strong sulfur smell.”

The operation of the 225-megawatt Antonio Gitras power plant, one of the largest in the country, is not currently in jeopardy, it said. To the state-run Prensa Latina.

State-run Prensa Latina I mentioned that the fire It did not pose an immediate threat to the operation of the nearby Antonio Guitras power plant, with a capacity of 225 megawatts, one of the largest in the country.

A variety of countries lent their support in fighting the fire, including Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile, and notably the United States, which has kept trade with the island under embargo for the past six decades.

Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossio Thank the US government On Saturday to provide “technical assistance”.

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