Monday, June 24, 2024

Fuel theft blamed for pipeline explosion in state of México

A pipeline containing hydrocarbon gas exploded late Wednesday afternoon in the state of México, with authorities quick to blame huachicoleros black market fuel thieves

The incident occurred in the municipality of Atlacomulco, 63 kilometers from the state capital of Toluca. The blast happened at approximately 4:35 p.m. in the ejido (village lands) of San Lorenzo.

The remains of a huachicolero vehicle after a similar explosion in 2019. (Cuartoscuro)

Municipal and state officials that arrived on the scene, along with firefighters and other emergency service providers, said the explosion was caused by illegal extraction from the nearby Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) pipeline.

Clouds of black smoke and flames could be seen several kilometers away, but there were no reports of any deaths or injuries, although two vehicles and a building caught fire.

The area was cordoned off by local law enforcement, while firefighters fought the flames. Pemex officials were on hand to tend to the fuel leak, carry out repairs and begin an investigation along with government authorities. Reports from the scene suggest that six 1000-liter drums were recovered near the pipeline. 

Pipeline explosions from people stealing petroleum and gas are nothing new in Mexico. The worst incident in recent years was a horrific explosion in 2019 in which at least 66 people were killed and 76 injured near Pachuca, Hidalgo.

At least two people were killed at the site of an illegal tap in Veracruz in 2018, the same year an incident in Querétaro killed a woman and severely burned her 15-year-old daughter. In 2021, at least one person was killed in Puebla due to an explosion also resulting from an illegal tap.

With reports from Milenio and La Silla Rota

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