Dangerous Puerto Rico Oil Fire Extinguished

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Oct. 25 (UPI) — Firefighters Sunday extinguished a blaze that had raged at a Puerto Rican oil depot for three days following an explosion, authorities said.

Crews monitored the smoldering site, guarding against the fire reigniting, CNN reported.

The White House had declared a state of emergency to free up federal aid for the Caribbean island, officials said.

At least 1,500 people had been forced from their homes as 17 oil tanks were destroyed at the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. facility in Bayamon near San Juan, CNN said.

The fire began shortly after midnight Friday with an explosion that shook the ground with the force of a 2.8 magnitude earthquake, local authorities said. The fire cost Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, at least $6.4 million, Gov. Louis Fortuno said.

Federal agents were treating the depot as a crime scene and investigating graffiti found on two San Juan tunnels that referred to the fire and the depot’s owners, FBI Special Agent Harry Rodriguez told CNN.

President Barack Obama’s emergency declaration frees federal money for aid and authorizes U.S. federal agencies to coordinate disaster assistance.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | People, Pollution & Toxins
Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.