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9 Aug 2022

The Guardian,
France 24

Cuba: Fire in oil terminal in Matanzas leaves at least one person dead and 125 injured; authorities raise alert about "poisonous cloud"

"Cuba: third oil tank ignites as firefighters struggle to extinguish blaze", 08 August 2022

...A deadly fire that began at Cuba’s main oil terminal in Matanzas has spread after a third crude tank caught fire and collapsed as firefighters struggled to fight the massive blaze.

At least one person has died and 125 are injured, with dozens of firefighters reported missing ever since lighting struck one of the facility’s eight tanks on Friday night. A second tank caught fire on Saturday, triggering several explosions at the facility, which plays a key part in Cuba’s electric system.

“The risk we had announced happened, and the blaze of the second tank compromised the third one,” said Mario Sabines, governor of the western province of Matanzas, where the facility is located.

... A fourth tank is threatened, but has yet to catch fire...

Local officials warned residents to use face masks or stay indoors given the billowing smoke enveloping the region that could be seen from the capital of Havana, more than 65 miles (100km) away. Officials have warned that the cloud contains sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and other poisonous substances.

...Twenty-four remain hospitalized...

...[T]he facility receives Cuban crude oil – operating an oil pipeline that crosses the center of the country – to be transferred via small tankers to the thermoelectric plants that produce electricity...