Venezuela oil refinery blaze halted
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at an oil refinery in Puerto La Cruz August 11, 2013. Lightning set fire to a storage tank at Venezuela's Puerto La Cruz oil refinery on Sunday, the president said, and residents were moved out of the immediate area while local media showed images of thick black smoke rising from the facility. Thunderstorms this weekend have drenched much of the South American OPEC nation, which has suffered repeated accidents at its oil refineries in recent years. Lightning bolts ignited two storage tanks at a different refinery just last year.REUTERS/Stringer (VENEZUELA - Tags: DISASTER BUSINESS COMMODITIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Photo by REUTERS
CARACAS — Firefighters in Venezuela put out a blaze in a storage tank at an oil refinery that was caused by lightning on Sunday and led to the evacuation of people living nearby, a top official at state oil company PDVSA said.
Thunderstorms this weekend have drenched much of the South American OPEC nation, which has suffered repeated accidents at its oil refineries in recent years. Lightning bolts ignited two storage tanks at a different refinery just last year.
No one was hurt in the fire, but residents within a 0.6-mile radius were moved away from the scene while fire crews fought the blaze in a downpour at the 187,000 barrel-per-day Puerto La Cruz facility in the eastern state of Anzoategui.
“The fire has been completely extinguished,” Asdrubal Chavez, PDVSA's vice president for refining, told state TV.
He congratulated the fire crews for their “sustained effort which allowed us to control this important fire in record time.”
Separately, PDVSA said operations at its 146,000-barrel-per-day El Palito refinery had been stopped on Sunday by a power cut that was also a result of the torrential rains.
President Nicolas Maduro said earlier on Twitter that he was in direct communication with the teams tackling the blaze at Puerto La Cruz. Officials stressed that the evacuation of homes around the refinery was just a precaution.
In one of the global oil industry's worst accidents for decades, a gas leak caused an explosion and fire last year at Venezuela's giant 645,000-barrel-per-day Amuay oil refinery that killed more than 40 people and wrecked hundreds of nearby houses.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.