fire set off by a lightning strike at an oil storage facility raged uncontrolled Saturday in the city of Matanzas, where four explosions and flames injured 121 people and left 17 firefighters missing, Cuban authorities said.
Firefighters and other specialists were still trying to quell the blaze at the Matanzas Supertanker Base, where the fire began during a thunderstorm Friday night, the Ministry of Energy and Mines tweeted. Authorities said about 800 people were evacuated from the Dubrocq neighborhood closest to the fire,
The government said it had asked for help from international experts in “friendly countries” with experience in the oil sector.
Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío said the U.S. government had offered technical help to quell the blaze. On his Twitter account, he said the “proposal is in the hands of specialists for the due coordination.”
Minutes later, President Miguel Díaz-Canel thanked Mexico , Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile for their offers of help. The first support flights from Mexico and Venezuela were expected to arrive at Matanzas’ airport Saturday night.