In Matanzas, a city east of Havana, the fire at Cuba’s largest petroleum products warehouse has finally been brought under control. Human and material reinforcements from Mexico and Venezuela helped extinguish the fire that destroyed 4 tanks, each holding 50 million liters of fuel oil. 15 Cuban firefighters were killed in the blasts.
After the catastrophic fire that destroyed 40% of the country’s petroleum products storage capacity, it is time for Cuba to take stock.
In normal times, the Matanzas supertanker base, with its 10 tanks, receives crude oil, heating oil and diesel. These products are transported to the thermoelectric power plant to supply electricity to the country.
At the time of the fire, the first tank was 50% full, i.e. with 25 million liters of heating oil. The second was full.
Thanks to the deployment of human and material reinforcements from Mexico and Venezuela, the fire was finally brought under control 4 days after the first explosion.
Cuba’s fire departments were quickly overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster and the deadly explosions.
According to the Cuban health minister, 15 firefighters were killed and 20 others injured.
Charred helmets of the Matanzas Fire Department. • ©Facebook
The process of identifying the 15 firefighters has begun. The families of some of them have already been informed.
For others, only the work of forensic scientists will enable them to identify victims severely damaged by the fire. At the moment, the Cuban government has not yet released the names of the firefighters killed in the fire.
The Cuban economy is in shambles. The United States embargo on the regime prevents regular shipments of energy products. On July 18, 2022, an oil tanker from Russia delivered 700,000 barrels of fuel oil to Matanzas. It is not known what percentage of these goods went up in smoke.
Before the disaster, Cuba produced only half the electricity needed to power the country. Power outages are common.
Following this fire, which broke out on Friday, August 5, 2022 after a clap of thunder ignited one of the fuel tanks, the electricity supply in Cuba will deteriorate.