Firefighters subdue deadly blaze at key oil facility in Cuba
A deadly fire that has consumed at least half of a large oil facility in western Cuba and threatened to worsen the island's energy crisis has been largely controlled after nearly five days, authorities said Wednesday.
Flames that recently consumed the fourth tank in the eight-tank facility in Matanzas were almost quelled, although the third tank remains on fire and surrounded by smoke, according to an unidentified Cuban firefighter.
Col. Daniel Chavez, second in command at Cuba's firefighting department, said the fire could keep burning for the next couple of days, but he did not expect it to spread further. He said the next step is to cool the area.
The blaze killed at least one person and injured 128 others, with 14 firefighters still reported missing and 20 people hospitalized. The fire also forced officials to evacuate more than 4,900 people and shut down a key thermoelectric plant after it ran out of water, raising concerns about a new round of blackouts in addition to the ones the government announced last week for Havana.
Arturo Lopez-Levy, a politics and international relations professor at Holy Names University in California, said the fire will complicate an already difficult scenario in Cuba.
“I think any realistic forecast would point to more blackouts and more difficulty in carrying out the minimum economic activity in the country,” he said.
Lopez-Levy also warned that it would be difficult “to lift up this country after this triple tragedy,” referring to the U.S. sanctions, the pandemic and now the fire.
Some Cubans worry the blaze could lead to more planned power outages as the government grapples with a fuel shortage.
“That gives way to more justification of blackouts that are going to occur,” said Pedro Pozo, a state worker.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel praised the work by local firefighters and special teams sent byt Mexico and Venezuela that employed boats, planes and helicopters to fight the blaze whose billowing, toxic smoke could be seen from the capital of Havana.
“(Tuesday) was a victory day, but we cannot be overconfident,” the president tweeted Wednesday as he warned about a possible switch in the wind direction. “Danger is lurking.”
The fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base began Friday when lightning struck the key infrastructure, which operates an oil pipeline that receives Cuban crude oil that powers thermoelectric plants. It also serves as the unloading and transshipment center for imported crude oil, fuel oil and diesel.
The government has not provided an estimate of damages or said how much it has lost overall in key fuel supplies. The first tank was at 50% capacity and contained nearly 883,000 cubic feet (25,000 cubic metres) of fuel. The second tank was full.
CTVNews.ca wants to hear from Canadians who are taking steps to mitigate rising prices amid a higher inflation rate.
If you live in an apartment, then you've more than likely felt the effects of the dramatically increased rental rates in Canada. Personal finance contributor Christopher Liew explores some of the key factors contributing to the increased rental prices in Canada, along with some of the things that Canadians are doing to cope with the current market.
About a quarter of Canadians are losing confidence in the stock market and are now looking to cash out their investments, a new survey has found.
Canada is headed for a 'severe' and 'almost inevitable' recession in early 2023, according to the head of economics at Macquarie Group, which states Canada will face an approximately three per cent contraction in gross domestic product and a five per cent rise in its unemployment rate during the predicted recession.
Financial TikTok – or FinTok – has become one of the most popular trends on the platform, and is emerging as a go-to resource for Gen Z and millennial audiences looking to learn how to invest, budget or even spend more wisely.
As the cost of living continues to rise and pay gaps persist, there is a growing desire for more open discussions around earnings, something experts argue could help ensure everyone is being compensated fairly.
When it comes to uncomfortable conversations, matters of inheritance may be near the top of the list. But as the cost of living rises and the generational wage gap grows wider, experts say it is now more important than ever to open up that dialogue.
Canadian employers are anticipating the highest salary increase in two decades as they try to balance inflationary pressures, surging interest rates, recession risks and a tight labour market, a new survey has found.