Venezuelans fight to halt deadly refinery fire

Firefighters in Venezuela are desperately trying to control a blaze at an oil refinery after the death toll reached 41 yesterday, according to reports. Two oil tanks at the state-owned […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Firefighters in Venezuela are desperately trying to control a blaze at an oil refinery after the death toll reached 41 yesterday, according to reports.

Two oil tanks at the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) refinery were engulfed by flames after a gas leak caused an explosion on Saturday, reports said. A third tank subsequently caught fire.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said earlier today the fire at one of the tanks at the Amuay refinery was extinguished.

He wrote in a series of tweets: “at this time, the fire has been extinguished in the tank 200 Amuay!”

He added: “The work of extinguishing the fire in the tank 203, advancing by 75%! And we continue with our heroic firefighters battling PDVSA!”

Rafael Ramirez, Minister of Petroleum and Mining, who is also President of PDVSA, said in a statement on PDVSA’s website yesterday: “All our experts are in the area and we will stay there until the situation culminates”.