3 dead in Mexico oil refinery explosion

Three people were killed and 136 were injured Wednesday in an explosion at an oil facility in the south-east Mexican state of Veracruz, the state-owned oil company PEMEX said.

Eighty-eight of the injured were still being treated in hospital and 13 of them were in serious condition, said Alberto Silva Ramos, the spokesman for the state of Veracruz.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.

The Pajaritos facility and surrounding area in the city of Coatzacoalcos were evacuated while emergency workers battled a fire. PEMEX said Wednesday evening that the blaze was under control but warned local residents to stay away from the facility.

Pictures broadcast earlier on Mexican television showed a dense black cloud of smoke rising over the facility, which produced vinyl chloride, a main ingredient of plastic pipes. PEMEX said the cloud had since dissipated and with it its hazardous potential, but did not provide further details about the explosion.

Veracruz authorities held an emergency meeting Wednesday evening, and Veracruz governor Javier Duarte and PEMEX chief executive Jose Antonio Gonzalez were en route to the scene. Schools will remain closed Thursday because of the incident.

Last update: Thu, 21/04/2016 - 10:53
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