Flames and smoke rise from a deposit of burning fuel in Matanzas, Cuba, following a fire started by lightning.
The fire that broke out Friday at an oil depot in Cuba is still out of control and authorities announced on Monday that a third tank had been destroyed by flames.
The fire began Friday evening, when lightning struck one of eight tanks at the depot in Matanzas, 100 km east of Havana. It contained 26,000 cubic meters of crude oil, about 50% of its maximum capacity.
The fire-ridden cylindrical structure exploded in the early hours of Saturday, spreading flames to a second tank containing 52,000 cubic meters of fuel oil.
A fire helicopter picks up water from Matanzas Bay to fight a fuel depot fire.
Despite firefighters perched on cranes and helicopters carrying out multiple water drops, this second tank in turn tore apart after an explosion on Sunday at midnight, forcing emergency evacuation.
And what we feared happened with the burning and destruction of a third tank containing crude oil, Matanzas Governor Mario Sabines said Monday in a video posted on the Presidency's Twitter account. .
The situation is very complex with three tanks on fire and a fairly large fire area, the governor said, without specifying how many thousand cubic meters this third contained tank.
Sabines said rescue teams from Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela are being positioned to spread the firefighting foam, which may take some time.
According to a latest report, 1 firefighter died and 16 are still missing, while 26 people are hospitalized, including 5 in critical condition.
Black smoke rising from a burning oil tank.
Relatives of the disappeared met with President Miguel Diaz-Canel and received assistance from doctors and psychologists.
My son did his duty, he went to the fire, said The tearful mother of a 19-year-old firefighter who was at the oil depot on Saturday morning told AFP when an explosion blew the first tank on fire.
On Sunday, four planes from Mexico and Venezuela landed at the resort town of Varadero, 40 kilometers northeast of Matanzas, carrying oil firefighting specialists and tons of fire extinguishing foam.
This tragedy comes three months after the ex Explosion in Havana of the Saratoga hotel caused by a gas leak, which left 46 dead, including 1 Spanish tourist, and more than 50 injured.