Cuban Government Reports that Matanzas Fire Is Extinguished

Photo: Foto: Prensa Latina

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES – On Friday morning, August 12, the Cuban government declared the massive fire that completely destroyed four huge oil storage tanks was finally extinguished after a week that had western Cuba in extreme anxiety.

Granma newspaper reports that firefighters continue on alert at the disaster site “because of the spilt fuel and high temperatures which could lead to new fires.”

Public Health Minister Jose Angel Portal Miranda, said rescue efforts in search of missing persons began Friday morning with seven teams of experts examining the tragic scene.  Portal told the Cuban TV audience that so far they had recovered partial remains of four of the missing persons, while the search continues.

Photo: Ricardo Lopez Hevia / Granma

The official noted that a total of 22 persons remain hospitalized, seven in critical or serious condition.  Portal noted that 108 persons have been treated and released from the hospitals. He emphasized that there were no reports of people affected by the environmental contamination related to the fire.

On Thursday the independent Cuba website El Toque published a list of 12 missing persons.

Mexican and Venezuelan specialists and supplies they brought helped put out the fire that had the entire country on edge.

Tourism Minister Juan Carlos Garcia chimed in that tourism was “not affected” by the fire. The huge plumes of smoke traveled west to Mayabeque and Havana instead of affecting the Varadero tourist resorts to the east of Matanzas.

While the rescue work continues in search of human remains, now the impact of the extensive damage caused at the supertanker port is being analyzed. Likewise, the failure of the supertanker base to protect against lighting strikes, the suspected cause of the fire.

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