Cuban authorities and emergency corps, together with teams from Mexico and Venezuela, continue the tasks to control the fire at the Matanzas supertanker base for the fourth consecutive day, amid complications due to the prevailing weather conditions in the area.
Extinguishing Fire in Cuba May Take Days, Says Fire Chief
The second chief of the National Department of Extinction of the Cuban Fire Department, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Ávalos Jorge, explained during a press conference that a different situation was observed on Tuesday. The smoke was more transparent, although the problem is complex because it continues to be a fire of grand proportions and it is impossible to issue a prognosis on its total control.
He said that the efforts of those fighting the flames are concentrated on protecting sectors that have not burned, such as the other battery of four tanks of 50 000 cubic meters of capacity (each one) and a site of nearby generators. He said there is no risk for the surrounding population or the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric power plant.
The officer highlighted the maneuvers to cool down the fire area, in which three Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) helicopter crews are taking part, and on the ground, together with the Venezuelan and Mexican firefighting teams, are giving results.
After the incident in Matanzas, the signs of solidarity towards Cuba continue to arrive as a sign of the excellent example of our country in giving the best of itself to others.
Ávalos explained that they are continuing to advance toward the central area of the fire to prepare the operation to extinguish it and recover the victims' bodies completely. According to the top official, these tasks will take days since it is required to extinguish the fuel spilled in the whole space of the tank battery.
Regarding the fourth tank, he said that the place still cannot be seen due to the smoke and flames, but they consider that it has deteriorated. He said that, although empty, the structure still has a small amount of fuel that may be burning.
Regarding the means to fight the flames, he explained that the flow of extinguishing substances is being maintained, and the high-pressure pump sent by Venezuela has come on line. He added that in the last hours, another two 500-gallon pumps arrived from Mexico (each gallon is equivalent to 3.78 liters).
Lieutenant Colonel Ávalos said that the firefighters are being relieved to take a rest and the integrated work with other forces is being maintained. He highlighted the work of the helicopter crews to cool the area.