Pemex DG visits the site of Wednesday's deadly explosion in Mexico

Published:  21 April, 2016

The large explosion occurred at 15:15 local time on 20 April at the Pemex’s Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo facility in Coatzacoalcos in the Gulf state of Veracruz, Mexico.

PMV, a vinyl petrochemical plant, is a joint venture between national oil company Pemex’s petrochemical unit and  plastic pipe maker Mexichem.

The explosion at the Chlorinate-3 plant killed three workers and injured 136 employees, 88 of which continue to be treated in hospital.

Following the explosion the site’s safety protocols were activated: valves and ducts closed as well the plant evacuated.

The fire was attended by municipal fire brigades as well as Pemex industrial fire responders.

Mexico’s Civil Defence Secretariat said yesterday that the fire following the explosion, which sent a large dark plume of smoke soaring into the sky, was producing toxic gases and particles containing glass fibre and chloroethane. During the incident local emergency responders reported a strong smell of chlorine that affected eyes and throat.

The incident is now under control and there is no risk to the general public, said Pemex, adding that around 2,000 evacuees had returned to their homes.

The director general of Petróleos Mexicanos, José Antonio González Anaya, visited the plant in the evening of the day of the explosion and subsequently met with some of the injured workers in hospital.

Safety issues are not new to the plant – or to Pemex’s other sites. In February a worker at PMV died following severe burns in the incinerator area.

Thirty-seven people died and 126 were injured in 2013 as a result of a blast at the Pemex Mexico City headquarters, Torre Ejecutiva Pemex, when a build-up of gas ignited in the skyscraper’s basement. In addition 26 people died in 2012 in a fire at a Pemex natural gas facility near the city of Reynosa in northern Mexico.

Picture credit: Pemex

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