Puebla, Mexico, Oct 31 (EFE).- An apparent attempt to illegally siphon fuel from a gas pipeline in the central Mexican state of Puebla on Sunday resulted in an explosion that killed one person and injured 15 others, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said.
“Regrettably, so far, one person lost their life and 15 more are injured due to the explosion of a Pemex pipeline in Puebla,” said the president on the social networks.
According to Lopez Obrador, the incident occurred at 2:30 am and a total of almost 1,400 personnel from assorted civil protection organizations were mobilized to deal with the blast, the resulting fire and the many injured at the pipeline owned by Mexico’s state-run petroleum company Pemex.
The president said that Pemex “has the fire under control and will see to it that the families displaced from their homes remain out of danger.”
At a press conference, local authorities said that the blast resulted from a clandestine attempt to siphon liquefied natural gas from the pipeline in the San Pablo Xochimehuacan area, in the city of Puebla, the capital of the same-named state.
The explosion took place at a spot where a cistern truck had been pulled up to the pipeline to remove some 10,000 liters of LNG.
Puebla Gov. Miguel Barbosa said that “the prime suspects” are the owners of the property where the blast occurred and of the cistern truck, and he promised that those responsible would not “remain unprosecuted.”
Adan Molina, a resident of San Pablo Xochimehuacan, told EFE that he ran outside his home when he heard a series of explosions.
“You could hear very loud explosions and the ground shook and everything, and you heard many windows shattering, and so we hurried to get out of there,” he said.
On Jan. 18, 2019, the town of Tlahuelilpan, in the central state of Hidalgo, experienced an explosion at a Pemex pipeline that killed 137 people and injured dozens more.
The blast came as local residents were filling containers with gasoline from a pipeline leak just after the Mexican president had declared a full-on offensive against the illegal siphoning of fuel, a practice known in Mexico as “huachicol,” which not only means adulterated alcoholic beverages but also stolen fuel.