Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

26 killed in Mexico pipeline fire

Fire and smoke rise from a gas pipeline distribution centre in Mexico (AP)
Firefighters try to control a blaze after an explosion at a gas pipeline distribution centre in Mexico (AP)

A big fire has erupted at a natural gas pipeline distribution centre near Mexico's border with the United States, killing 26 maintenance workers and forcing the evacuation of people in nearby ranches and homes.

Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, initially reported 10 deaths at the facility near the city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas.

Later, the death toll was raised to 26, including a man who was run over when he rushed onto a road running away from the facility.

Pemex said at a news conference that the fire was extinguished in 90 minutes and the pipeline was shut off. The pipeline carries natural gas from wells in the Burgos basin.

The company's director-general, Juan Jose Suarez, said four of those killed were Pemex employees and the rest were employed by contractors.

He said that 46 other workers were injured, including two in a serious condition.

Company executives said there was a gas leak, followed by an explosion, but the precise cause had not been determined.

"Why there was such leak is something that must be investigated," said Carlos Morales Gil, Pemex's director of exploration and production.

Civil protection officials evacuated ranches and homes within three miles of the gas facility, which is about 12 miles south-west of Reynosa.

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