Thursday 31 January 2013

37 dead, 121 wounded in Pemex tower explosion in Mexico City

After the explosion
The director of Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Emilio Lozoya Austin, now says that 37 people died from the explosion  at the company's  central administrative “B2” building in Mexico City. 121 people were wounded, with 52 remaining in hospital.

The explosion occurred on Thursday, January 31st  at 15:55 in an electrical substation in the basement of the building, and blew up into the ground floor and mezzanine area. 

Early responders found a large debris field in front of the building, with plumes of smoke rising high and visible across Mexico City. The tower is located in the Anáhuac neighbourhood, at #329 Marina Nacional.

Rescue crews with sniffer dogs were active at the scene into the evening, and three Condor helicopters were been brought in to transport the wounded. Approximately 100 ambulances transported victims to various hospitals. Many of the injured and dead were trapped in the rubble in the basement.

The military took control of the area, with federal and state police also on the scene. The president of the republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, also arrived on site.

Anyone concerned about loved ones can call 56 58 11 11 - there are 120 phone lines designated to handle the crisis. The Red Cross has also put out a call for blood donors.

The leader of Pemex's union has said that explosion may have been due to poor boiler maintenance. Others have reported smelling gas.

The conspiracy theories are already flying: Leftist Mexican lawmaker Norona has compared the explosion to the Reichstag fire in Germany in 1933.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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