Havana, Aug 7. The serious fire unleashed in some large fuel tanks in Matanzas (western Cuba), which adds one dead and fifteen missing, has affected a third tank this Sunday.
A huge column of fire of several tens of meters has suddenly risen from the area of the incident minutes before midnight (4:00 GMT), as broadcast by Cuban television.
According to official media reports, the efforts of the Cuban and international emergency teams to contain the flames in the first two warehouses affected have not been successful. The infrastructure has a total of eight tanks of 50,000 cubic meters each.
The flames have reached the third tank, which had been cooled with seawater for much of this Sunday, almost at the same time that the second affected tank collapsed due to the fire.
Shortly before, the emergency teams had withdrawn from the area of the incident after a strong wind prevented their work and fanned the flames.
The Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) indicated in its latest report that the fire has so far left one dead and 122 injured, of which five remain in critical condition, three are in serious condition and 16 are receiving care (the rest have been discharged).
The missing are mainly firefighters who were surprised by the explosion of the second tank when they were working on the front line to stop the fire in the first. The recovery of the bodies will not begin until the flames are extinguished, explained the Cuban government.
In addition, some 5,000 people have been evicted from Matanzas neighborhood housing located in the vicinity of the industrial park.
The fire broke out around 7:00 p.m. local time (11:00 p.m. GMT) on Friday, according to the first hypotheses, when lightning struck the base of fuel deposits and exceeded the capabilities of the lightning rod system.
That same afternoon the first tank exploded, with some 25,000 cubic meters of oil, and at around 7:00 local time (11:00 GMT) the second, with an undetermined amount of fuel, ignited.
The flames have risen several tens of meters, dyeing the sky of nearby Matanzas red, and the huge column of black smoke has reached Havana, more than 100 kilometers away. EFE