HAVANA — Lightning struck a crude oil garage facility at the northern coast of Cuba, igniting a fireplace that on Saturday had left dozens of other people injured, 17 firefighters lacking and triggered the evacuation of a few 800 other people, consistent with the government.
Images of the hearth on the Matanzas Supertanker Base, in Matanzas Province, 60 miles east of Havana, the capital, had been shared through the Cuban Energy Ministry on social media and display monumental flames emerging from the ability, with plumes of smoke blackening the sky.
Military helicopters had been noticed looking to douse the inferno as dozens of firefighters rushed to the scene.
The fireplace started at one oil tank throughout a thunderstorm on Friday night, consistent with state information media, and unfold to a 2nd tank early on Saturday morning. That tank used to be estimated to carry some 52,000 cubic meters of gas oil, or over 13 million gallons.
As of Saturday afternoon, there have been no reported deaths however 77 other people have been hospitalized, consistent with Matanzas govt officers. The 17 firefighters reportedly went lacking Saturday morning simply as the second one tank exploded round 5 a.m.
The base, which shops oil for power manufacturing, is close to considered one of Cuba’s number one energy vegetation. Already, the Caribbean island struggles with fashionable energy blackouts on account of continual gas shortages and an ill infrastructure in dire want of repairs.
While the lighting fixtures are most commonly stored on within the capital, within the Cuban provinces the place 9 of the rustic’s 11 million other people are living, hourslong energy cuts have develop into a grueling a part of day by day existence in contemporary months. And diesel shortages have motorists ready in line for days.
“It’s a structural problem with Cuba’s electric power system, which has been operating for over 40 years with no scheduled capital maintenance,” stated Jorge Piñon, an power professional on the University of Texas, Austin. “That puts at risk a total collapse of the system with no short term solution.”
The nation’s greatest protests in a long time had been triggered final yr partly through energy outages, in addition to a loss of meals and drugs within the nation, whose financial system has been laborious hit through each the pandemic and American sanctions.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel of Cuba visited the affected house on Saturday at the side of the rustic’s high minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, traveling hospitals and assembly with the wounded.
“The dawn will be long and filled with anguish, as it was last night,” Mr. Díaz-Canel stated on Twitter. “There is no precedent for a fire of this magnitude at the Supertanker Base.”