1 Dead, 17 Missing, Hundreds Hurt by Raging Fire at Cuban Fuel Depot

A major fire has broken out overnight after lightning struck a crude oil storage tank on the outskirts of the city of Matanzas, the Cuban News Agency reported.

By Saturday morning the fire was spreading completely out of control with flames reaching hundreds feet into the air, threatening other nearby fuel storage tanks with smoke reached Havana some 80 miles (128km) away.

Cuban state television said at least one unidentified body has been found, 17 firefighters are missing and hundreds of people have been injured in fire and subsequent explosions. Civilians had already been evacuated from the area.

Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited the scene and posting on Twitter that first responders were “trying to avert the spread of the flames and any spill of fuel” into the Matanzas bay.

A later tweet from his office said Cuba was asking friendly nations for advice and assistance to extinguish the fire .

Cuba has been suffering from fuel shortages and daily blackouts and the loss of fuel and storage capacity is only going to aggravate the emergency.

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