Video circulating on social media showed a huge fire spread across a field, with people silhouetted against the flames and dark smoke behind them. Ambulances, medical specialists and other personnel were sent at the scene. Dozens of people have been taken to hospitals with burns because they were scrambling to steal some of the leaking oil. The cause of the leak is unclear but Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, has suffered a number of accidents in the past. The country has been plagued by fuel theft.
Mexico is in the midst of a gas crisis and and criminal gangs known as huachicoleros siphoning gasoline from pipelines to resell it. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has tried to crack down on thieves, shutting off pipelines thought vulnerable, diverting gasoline to tanker trucks, and ordering 4,000 military and police personnel to guard stretches of pipeline. “I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Let’s see who gets tired first, because we will stop the fuel theft,” he said.
At least 70 persons were killed in the blast.