On Monday, a catastrophic inferno that started at a sizable oil storage facility in western Cuba grew after flames engulfed a third tank that firefighters had attempted to put out while battling the enormous blaze.
Since lightening struck one of the facility’s eight tanks on Friday night, at least one person has died, 125 have been hurt, and 14 more have gone missing. At the plant, which is crucial to Cuba’s electrical grid, many explosions were caused on Saturday when a second tank caught fire.
According to Mario Sabines, governor of the western province of Matanzas, where the facility is located, “the risk we had announced happened, and the blaze of the second tank damaged the third one.”
Over the weekend, firefighters sprayed water on the remaining tanks to cool them and try to contain the fire.
Special teams have been dispatched by the governments of Mexico and Venezuela to assist in putting out the fire. Water cannons, planes, and helicopters are fighting the fire from different angles while military construction experts have built barriers to control oil spills.
Residents were advised by local officials to use face masks or stay indoors due to the region’s heavy smoke, which can be seen from Havana, the country’s capital, more than 65 miles away. Authorities have issued warnings that the cloud contains toxic gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, and more.