The incident occurred the evening of August 5, when an electrical discharge during a thunderstorm hit crude oil storage tank 52 at the Matanzas Supertanker Base, resulting in an explosion that has spread to a second fuel storage tank.
This is an unprecedented situation in this city, west of Cuba’s capital, where President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero and other senior government officials are present.
In spite of the efforts in the early morning, new explosions occurred at the site due to the extension of the calls to a second fuel storage tank, resulting in injuries, including members of a press team, according to Prensa Latina.
Cuban uthorities have confirmed 77 injured and 17 missing, while actions continue to prevent the spread of the flames in the industrial area of the city.
Huge fire injures nearly fifty people in #Matanzas #Cuba
Almost fifty people were injured due to the large-scale fire that continues to rage today in the western Cuban province of Matanzas, where new explosions happened.https://t.co/T8xfBkFAAJ pic.twitter.com/FacMWMqRM0
— Escambray Today (@EscambrayToday)
August 6, 2022
In the area there are reports of strong flames and concentrated smoke, while firefighting teams from the city and other provinces and towns are working.
Authorities have ordered the evacuation of the population near the disaster area and since the previous day, lines of people with their belongings have been boarding the means of transportation provided for them.
More than 800 people have been evacuated to other places while the country announced that it will request help from other friendly nations with experience in dealing with this type of disasters.
For his part, Public Health Minister José Ángel Portal said that seven of the injured are in the Calixto García clinical-surgical hospital in Havana.
In addition, there are three people in critical condition, three in very serious condition, 12 in serious condition, 20 in less serious condition and 29 with minor injuries.
He assured that bags of serum and all the creams for the care of the burn victims are available.
Seguimos en #Matanzas. Visitamos a los lesionados y sostuvimos reunión con las autoridades de la provincia. Es urgente encontrar a los bomberos desaparecidos por la explosión y atender a sus familias. La situación es difícil pero de esta también vamos a salir. #FuerzaMatanzas pic.twitter.com/AzJvGy9tVT
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB)
August 6, 2022
We continue at #Matanzas . We visited the injured and held a meeting with the provincial authorities. It is urgent to find the missing firefighters in the explosion and care for their families. The situation is difficult but we will also come out of this. #FuerzaMatanzas
Several users on social networks sighted smoke from the fire in localities north of Havana, which was confirmed by the Institute of Meteorology, which explained that it is the result of the incidence of northeast winds.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said today that the fire developing in fuel tanks in this city will take time to be put out but there is already a strategy for recovery.