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Cuba declares massive fuel plant fire extinguished

HAVANA (AFP) – Cuba’s government declared the “elimination” of a fire at a major fuel storage plant that left two firefighters dead and 14 people missing.

The presidency said on Twitter that “at 7am the elimination of the fire was declared”.

After the fire was extinguished, 60 experts entered the disaster zone to recover the remains of those still missing.

“Forensic Medicine teams have been working since early in the morning to search for the remains of the missing persons,” the president’s office said.

Remains of the missing have been “located in different places” in the devastated area, one of the experts told President Miguel Diaz-Canel during a tour of the plant, according to state television.

An employee of the Cupet state oil company inspects the damages at the fuel depot that was engulfed in flames in Matanzas, Cuba. PHOTO: AFP

The massive fire started on Friday last week after lightning struck a tank at the depot outside the western city of Matanzas, 100 kilometres from Havana.

Four of the eight tanks at the depot – each with the capacity to hold 50 million litres of fuel – collapsed during the blaze, which injured 132 people.

Four of them are in critical condition, according to the latest Health Ministry report.

Two firefighters died in the incident.

An army of Cuban firefighters worked around the clock for almost a week to extinguish the flames, with the help of technicians, firefighters, and military personnel who came from Mexico and Venezuela.

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