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News > Cuba

Matanzas Fire is Being Extinguished but Danger Remains

  • Venezuelan and Mexican aid workers arrive to fight the fire, Matanzas, Cuba, Aug. 9, 2022.

    Venezuelan and Mexican aid workers arrive to fight the fire, Matanzas, Cuba, Aug. 9, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @bohemia1908

Published 10 August 2022

Mexico and Venezuela sent 127 specialists, 45,000 liters of retardant foam, 8 armored breathable air tanks, and other materials.

On Wednesday, the Cuban authorities reported that the extinction of the industrial fire in Matanzas is progressing despite the difficulties. Although the flames continue to burn 4 out of 8 large fuel tanks, emergency teams have taken important steps to contain the fire.


Cuba: Joint Forces Advance in Controlling Fire in Matanzas

"We made progress in confronting the terrible fire in the Matanzas Industrial Zone. Yesterday was a day of victory, but we cannot trust ourselves. The danger is still latent," Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted.

Local authorities explained that "a more favorable moment" has been created thanks to a more stable water supply and the creation of fire containment dikes. 

Mexico and Venezuela have contributed substantially to the control of the fire. From these two countries, 20 flights have arrived with 127 specialists, 45,000 liters of retardant foam, 8 breathable air tanks with armor, and other materials.

The first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) in Matanzas Susely Morfa indicated that the wind fanned the flames at dawn, although without endangering the latest advances of the emergency teams.

So far, the balance of victims registers a citizen dead, 125 people injured, 19 people hospitalized and 14 people missing, most of whom are firefighters. For the moment, the Cuban government has not released estimates on the economic cost of this event, which has been described as the country's biggest industrial disaster.

Given that part of the fuel was intended for energy production, the Matanzas incident may further stress the situation of the national electricity system in a country that has been suffering frequent blackouts for weeks.

The fire broke out on August 5, when lightning struck one of the eight tanks, each with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters. In the following days, the flames affected four of these infrastructures, causing serious explosions, with blazes of several tens of meters, and a column of toxic black smoke that reached Havana, more than 100 kilometers away.

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