Mexico: 24 dead in blast at petrochemical plant

22nd Apr 2016
Mexico: 24 dead in blast at petrochemical plant

By Nancy Caouette

 

MEXICO CITY (AA): At least 24 victims were killed and 136 injured, 13 seriously, 18 unaccounted for, after an explosion ripped through a petrochemical plant, authorities said Thursday.

“We went through the affected area. Unfortunately, so far, there are 24 people dead,” said Luis Felipe Puente, coordinator of Mexico’s civil protection.

In a television interview with Televisa, he said the blast Wednesday at the plant owned by state-run oil company, Pemex, injured 136 others who are receiving treatment at local hospitals.

At least 13 were seriously hurt but 48 have been discharged.

The blast occurred at a plant in the southeastern city of Coatzacoalcos, in the state of Veracruz, forcing 2,000 residents to leave their homes.

Following the explosion, classes were suspended for Thursday in six municipalities due to the risk of chemicals from the explosion.

But authorities now say the area is safe.

“We are still working in the accident zone to ensure security, but the area does not represent danger for citizens,” Puente tweeted.

The cause of the explosion is being investigated.

Television images show a large fire and huge plumes of smoke coming from the site.

Pemex said the explosion at the plant this is operated jointly with Mexichem, occurred on at a plant that mainly produces caustic soda, a highly corrosive chemical base used by many industries and, vinyl chloride, a dangerous chemical used to make PVC – a widely used synthetic plastic.

Several accidents have occurred at Pemex facilities in recent years.

A fire at an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico in February killed two workers and injured eight others.

At least 37 victims died in 2013 after an explosion at Pemex headquarters in Mexico City.

And a year earlier, 26 people were killed in a fire at a Pemex natural gas facility in northern Mexico.

Additional information from The Muslim News.

[Map of Mexico showning Veracruz State. By TUBS/Creative Commons]

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