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1 killed, 122 injured in Cuba fuel storage facility

A crude oil tank at the facility was engulfed in a huge blaze following a lightning strike at 7 p.m. on August 5, reports Xinhua news agency.

IANS | New Delhi |

One person was killed and 122 others were injured after a massive fire triggered a series of explosions at a fuel storage facility in Cuba’s port of Matanzas, the Ministry of Public Health said, adding that 16 people were still unaccounted for.

A crude oil tank at the facility was engulfed in a huge blaze following a lightning strike at 7 p.m. on August 5, reports Xinhua news agency.

The fire reached a second tank on the next morning and triggered a series of explosions.

The first tank hit by lightning was at half capacity, with about 25,000 cubic liters of crude.

Local authorities said the lightning rod system failed to prevent the fire.

Cuban firefighters were joined by Mexican and Venezuelan experts on Sunday to extinguish the blaze that was still spreading.

“Cuba lacks some resources and technologies required to control this large-scale fire,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel told reports at the scene located some 100 km east of Havana.

So far, some 5,000 residents have been evacuated from the area, according to official data.

Images shared on social media showed a massive column of black smoke crossing the city of Matanzas and extending 63 miles west to Havana.

The Caribbean nation is suffering from a lack of electricity due to fuel shortages.

Its power supply could further deteriorate after the explosions.