Fire Kills 26 At Mexican State Gas Facility

 @crvillarreal
on September 19 2012 10:31 AM
Pemex Fire
A man walks near burnt vehicles and gas storage tanks at a gas facility of Pemex in the city of Reynosa in Tamaulipas, Mexico. REUTERS

A major fire erupted at a state-owned natural gas facility in Tamaulipas state, in northern Mexico, killing 26 people and displacing local residents in the area.

Mexico’s nationalized oil company Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said that four of the casualties were employees and the remaining were contractors, Reuters reported. In addition, 46 other workers were injured.

The fire was extinguished Tuesday afternoon, and safety valves have been shut as a precaution, which could limit the distribution of gas supplies.

Pemex executives said that a gas leak had ignited at the natural gas pipeline distribution center in Tamaulipas, causing an explosion and subsequently a fire, but the cause of the leak remains unknown and is currently under investigation, the Associated Press reported.

Pemex’s director-general, Juan Jose Suarez, told the AP that there did not appear to be any evidence of an attack.

Gasoline and diesel pipelines are commonly tapped illegally by criminal gangs for fuel, resulting in spills and explosions in the past, but natural gas pipelines are rarely targeted, according to the AP.

This is the third fire at a Pemex faiclity in Tamaulipas in recent weeks, though the death toll has made it the worst incident to occur in years, according to Reuters.

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