Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Gas pipeline leak near Guadalajara forces residents to evacuate

A ruptured pipeline near Guadalajara caused a major gasoline leak on Friday morning, forcing a large number of residents to evacuate their homes.

The leak — reportedly caused by fuel thieves’ tapping, or puncturing, of Pemex’s Salamanca-Guadalajara pipeline — caused a large gasoline “cloud” to form in Tololotlán, a community in the municipality of Tonalá, which borders Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco.

Images from the town of Tololotlán showed a cloud of petroleum gas hanging over the town. (Screen capture)

An aerial photograph showed a gasoline “geyser” and a vast fog-like fuel cloud surrounding it.

Some 2,100 people in the municipalities of Tonalá, Juanacatlán and El Salto evacuated their homes at the request of police, according to reports.

Evacuations began at around 6 a.m., shortly after residents detected a strong gasoline odor.

The Jalisco Civil Protection agency said on the X social media platform that it was working with Pemex and Tonalá authorities to bring the situation under control.

The Reforma newspaper reported that authorities were waiting for the cloud of gasoline to dissipate in order to “close the valve that was put in place by huachicoleros,” as fuel thieves are colloquially known. The thieves reportedly fled the scene when Pemex personnel caught them in the act.

The flow of additional gasoline to the point at which the pipeline is punctured has been cut off. In addition, the Federal Electricity Commission cut power supply in the area as a precautionary measure.

Fuel pipeline leaks have previously caused fatal explosions in Mexico, including one in Hidalgo that claimed the lives of 137 people in 2019.

With reports from Reforma, Infobae and TV Azteca

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