Cuban firefighters begin to take the measure of the gigantic fire of an oil depot east of Havana, the fires in two of the four tanks in the grip of the flames are practically under control, indicated, this Wednesday, August 10, the relief . Guadeloupe the 1st with AFP • Published on August 10, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. updated on August 10, 2022 at 12:42 p.m. One of the tanks “is practically extinct”, a Cuban pilot who flew over the depot on Wednesday morning told national television. “Today we are going to put the finishing touches on it,” he added. According to images shot by this Mexican Navy helicopter, the fire from a second tank spits less smoke and flames than in previous days.
Smoke still dense and black, making visibility difficult, escapes however from two other tanks with a capacity of 52 million liters but the columns of flames rising in the sky also seemed lower on Tuesday.
“The work was effective,” added the Cuban pilot, referring to efforts to contain the fire from a distance from the group of four other mega-tanks in the depot, located 150 meters from the blaze. A Mexican Navy firefighting vessel sprays water 150 meters away and five helicopters carry out incessant drops. In the distance, the plume of smoke rising in the sky seems clearer, noted AFP journalists.
The disaster began Friday evening when lightning struck a first tank in the oil complex located in the suburbs of Matanzas, a city of 140,000 inhabitants. The fire spread to other tanks containing diesel or crude oil.
One firefighter was killed and 14 missing, according to a provisional report. Twenty people are still hospitalized out of the 128 injured. On Tuesday, President Miguel Diaz-Canel told the press that with the progress made “we will be able to go and recover the victims”.
“It will be a very difficult time” for which “we must be prepared and support these families,” he added.
The nearby Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, supplied with fuel by a pipeline from this depot, was returned to service on Wednesday after two days of shutdown, limiting power cuts throughout the country which is already facing a shortage of production.