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Pemex refinery fire at Salina Cruz burns for nearly 24 hours

Salina Cruz, Oaxaca — A fire in the TV-102 fuel tank at the refinery in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, has finally been put out. The fire, which raged for about 24 hours, was officially extinguished Saturday after a second attempt.

Rafael Ramirez López, director of Municipal Civil Protection said the fire began Friday afternoon around 2:30. It started in the TV-102 fuel tank of the refinery. Firefighting personnel from the refinery tried to suffocate it but were unable to do so.

A Civil Protection fire truck arrived with mechanical foam to help cool down and prevent other fuel tanks from being affected while they requested help. Ramirez said that additional foam was requested from refineries in Cadereyta, Nuevo León and Minatitlán Veracruz.

The Mexican Navy transported the foam by air which was used to help keep other nearby tanks cool.

“A height of one meter of gasoline was registered in a tank, which is equivalent to 10,000 barrels, which could be consumed in a period of 24 hours (…) that product is still at risk because around it, there are other storage tanks such as Turbosina, Diesel and Magna gasoline,” he said.

While the fire was being manned, Salina Cruz mayor Daniel Méndez Sosa told the public that the situation was under control and that an evacuation route for surrounding areas had been created.

On Friday night, the fire was thought to be fully extinguished, however, around 5:00 a.m. Saturday, the fire began for a second time. Firemen were back on scene of the Antonio Dovalí Jaime Pemex refinery where they battled the same fire again.

Flames from the fire were reported at just over 100 meters high accompanied by an enormous column of black smoke.

During the fire, the 28 processing plants of the Salina Cruz refinery were out of operation. The fire, refinery authorities reported, started in the storage and pumping area.