Disasters & Accidents

Venezuelan firefighters control blaze in Health Ministry warehouse

Caracas, Aug 15 (EFE).- Officials with Venezuela’s National Risk Management System reportedly have brought under control a fire that broke out Monday morning in a warehouse of the national Social Security Institute (IVSS) where dialysis supplies for more than 7,000 patients were being stored.

Interior, Justice and Peace Minister Remigio Ceballos Ichaso reported the blaze on Twitter and said that it had been brought under control “thanks to the rapid and timely efforts” of more than 50 personnel with the risk management agency and Caracas firefighters.

According to Ceballos, who said that the incident was being investigated, “sabotage is not being ruled out” as the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Magaly Gutierrez said that the warehouse contained “supplies for the hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis programs.”

“The warehouse distributed supplies daily to attend to more than 7,000 patients throughout the national territory,” said the minister on Twitter, adding that so far no injuries or deaths had been reported as a result of the blaze.

Besides the destroyed material, 28 people were slightly affected by the fire due to smoke inhalation.

Some residents of the area were forced to evacuate their homes for several hours, fearing that the flames might reach their houses, Eduardo Rodriguez, a local resident, told EFE.

“It’s a really big warehouse that’s been burning since 5:30 am. Since that time, the neighbors have been on alert and we left in terror because we know that this fire is fierce,” he said.

Meanwhile, Isleika Cardenas, a local community leader, said that the blaze had resulted in “a huge loss for the state” due to the quantity of medicines and supplies that were being kept at the facility.

Residents of nearby areas also expressed their concern over the chemicals and medical products that burned and the consequences they might have on people if they had inhaled the smoke.

EFE gcs/sb/laa

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