Pemex Headquarters Basement
A LARGE EXPLOSION in the basement of the 51-story headquarters of Mexico's state-owned oil company Thursday afternoon killed at least 25 people and injured more than 100 others.
The Pemex Tower is Mexico City's tallest building.
The blast shook the ground around the area causing a temporary panic among office workers who poured into the street. It caused significant structural damage to the aging skyscraper and is believed to have occurred in the area where a large gas-fueld boiler was located.
Pemex is the government-owned monopoly that controls all the petroleum and natural gas production and retail sales in the country. It is famous for its widespread union corruption, managerial ineptitude, and continuing string of devastating accidents like this one. Over the past decades thousands have been killed by explosions, fires and assorted accidents.
It is not yet known what caused this embarrassing ka-boom right in their own headquarters. Search and rescue workers are still picking through the debris and concrete chunks looking for any possible victims this morning. Reuters is reporting:
Not long after the blast, President Enrique Pena Nieto was at the scene, vowing to discover how it happened.
"We will work exhaustively to investigate exactly what took place, and if there are people responsible, to apply the force of the law on them," he told reporters before going to visit survivors in hospital.
Shortly after midnight, at least 46 victims were still being treated in hospital, the company said.
Pemex said the blast would not affect operations, but concern in the government was evident as top military officials, the attorney general and the energy minister joined Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong for a late news conference.
"I have issued instructions to the relevant authorities to convene national and international experts to help in the investigations," Osorio Chong said. He later noted that the number of casualties could still climb.
Whatever caused it, the deaths and destruction will put the spotlight back on safety at Pemex, which only a couple of hours before the explosion had issued a statement on Twitter saying the company had managed to improve its record on accidents.
EuroNews has posted this early video report:
As the search and investigations continue, there is no further information available that is reliable.
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