Major fire in Cuba under control after six days

Flames and smoke rise above the Matanzas oil terminal.
Image: AP

A lightning strike caused an explosion in Matanzas, setting fire to several fuel depots. According to firefighters, the fire is now under control and will be extinguished soon. 14 people are still missing.

SSix days after the explosion in a fuel depot in northern Cuba, the fire department brought the fire under control. "The fire is under control and will now be extinguished," said the fire department on Thursday. It is impossible that the fire will spread further or that there will be new explosions. However, smoke can still be expected. The emergency services assumed that they could advance to the source of the fire and search for the remains of the missing in about 48 hours. After the fire, 14 people were still missing on the site.

Last Friday, during a thunderstorm, lightning exploded the fuel tank in Matanzas. The fire spread to other parts of the facility. A total of four of the eight tanks were damaged. Specialists from Mexico and Venezuela traveled to help with the extinguishing work.

Around 130 people were treated in the hospital after the fire. 23 patients were still in the clinic on Thursday, six of them seriously injured. Two firefighters died fighting the fire.

The tanks contained Cuban crude oil and imported heavy fuel oil, which is primarily used to generate electricity. The fire devoured important energy reserves of the socialist state, which is already suffering from a serious economic crisis and major problems with the energy supply.

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