Smoke had many residents concerned this morning. Smoke had many residents concerned this morning.

Pemex refinery fire brought under control

There was no one hurt in the blaze at the Salina Cruz refinery

A huge column of black smoke had residents of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, worried this morning but the state oil company said there was no danger to the public from a fire at its refinery.

Pemex officials said this morning the fire has been brought under control and no one was hurt in the blaze.

Spokesman Rogelio Ríos Benítez said the fire broke out after crude oil began leaking from a 500,000-liter storage tank, and made the assurance there was no danger to residents.

Many citizens chose to leave their homes, fearing that the smoke was the sign of something more serious.

The refinery was forced to shut down operations yesterday after it was inundated by meter-high floodwaters produced by tropical storm Calvin, which made landfall just up the coast on Monday evening.

The Hidros 2 plant, where sulfur is removed from gasoline, and a storage area with 14 500,000-barrel tanks of crude oil were under water.

Operations resumed again this morning.

Fishermen expressed concern yesterday about the effects of the flooding on the shrimp fishery.

The refinery, which opened in 1979, processes 330,000 barrels of crude a day.

Source: El Sol de México (sp), El Universal (sp)

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