Extinguishing fire in Cuban fuel reservoirs may take days


Cuba is today facing an unprecedented industrial accident due to a fire in the Matanzas supertanker area caused by a lightning strike on one of the fuel reservoirs.

Fire in Cuba

The extinguishing of the fire of great proportions that since Friday consumed a battery of fuel warehouses in the Cuban city of Matanzas (central west) may take several more days, opined the second chief of the National Department of Extinction of the Cuban Fire Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Avalos Jorge.

“It is impossible to calculate when we will manage to extinguish the fire. We can still be days; we are carrying out all actions. We hope it will be soon. We have the desire, the attitude and collaboration to do it as soon as possible”, said Avalos Jorge in a press conference from the operations command post.

Avalos Jorge ruled out that, for the moment, there are no conditions for the incident to spread to the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric power plant, also located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay, some 100 kilometers west of Havana.

He explained that there had been a chain reaction from the moment of the explosion of the first tank in the early hours of Saturday morning, which spread the fire to the four 50,000 cubic meters tanks that stores oil and other derivatives known as dark products.

He said that the forces fighting the fire are working to prevent it from reaching Terminal 321, located in the vicinity of the fire area. Fortunately, the fire had not reached those reservoirs containing the so-called light products, such as gasoline.

He added that the high temperatures, the direction of the wind and the large column of smoke combined to make the task of putting out the fire very complicated.

“At this moment, we are working together with our Mexican and Venezuelan brothers, (…) we have had to develop several strategies to confront and defend against the spread of the fire, taking into account the irregularity of the process,” said the second chief of the Cuban Fire Brigade.

He insisted that a fire of this type is unprecedented in the history of Cuba.