Gas blasts rock central Mexican city, killing at least 1

Oct 30, 2021, 8:56 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2021, 7:59 pm
Destroyed homes and vehicles are seen after a series of explosions at a neighborhood in Puebla, Mex...

Destroyed homes and vehicles are seen after a series of explosions at a neighborhood in Puebla, Mexico, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. Officials say an illegal tap on a gas line is apparently to blame for the early morning explosions that killed at least one person and injured more than a dozen, destroying dozens of homes and causing the evacuation of some 2000 persons. (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

(AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A series of explosions, apparently caused by an illegal tap on a natural gas line, rocked the central Mexico city of Puebla before dawn Sunday, killing at least one person, injuring 11 and damaging dozens of homes, authorities said.

Puebla state Gov. Miguel Barbosa said an emergency call warning of a gas smell and cloud in the area gave officials about 80 minutes to evacuate some 2,000 people living as far as a kilometer (about s half mile) from the leak before the first of three explosions, which came shortly before 3 a.m.

“If there had not been an evacuation and there had not been coordination, there would have been a tragedy of great proportions,” the governor said.

Officials said at least 54 homes were destroyed or damaged in the San Pablo Xochimehuacan district of Puebla, a city of 1.7 million people. At least two of the injured were in critical condition with severe burns.

“When I heard the chaos, the screaming of the people, that’s when we realized that the smoke from the gas was coming … and we didn’t have time to take out documents or animals or anything,” one resident told The Associated Press shortly after being told his home was completely destroyed.

Fires burned in the rubble into the evening, when a heavy rain finally doused the flames. Shortly before 7 p.m., authorities announced that workers from Mexico’s state oil company had succeeded in closing off the leaking gas.

Officials briefly evacuated 37 patients from a nearby hospital, but it was back in service hours later after suffering only minor damage, such as broken windows.

The governor said rescue teams with dogs were searching for more possible victims, though there were no reports of missing people.

Javier González of the government’s Petroleos Mexicanos company said the tap apparently was installed on a property where officials found a tanker truck and 25 gas cylinders. Across the street is a gas distribution company.

Officials said 1,400 soldiers, National Guard troops, police, firefighters and rescue personnel were working in the area following the explosions. An additional 870 soldiers were on their way from the Valley of Mexico with tools, machinery and excavators and four search dogs, officials said.

The governor vowed to “get to the bottom” of who was responsible for the explosion.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered condolences to victims of the blast. Early in his administration, he crusaded against thieves who tap into gas and gasoline lines — even shutting down major fuel ducts to get rid of thieves.

But official reports indicate that as recently as March, Mexico was losing an average of 4,000 barrels a day of gasoline and diesel to to such taps, which are sometimes guarded by local communities who see them as a resource.

An illegal tap of a gasoline line caused an explosion that killed at least 134 people in the town of Tlahuelilpan, north of Mexico City, in 2019. Townspeople had gathered in a field to fill containers with gasoline leaking from the line.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy answers questions after his legal...
Luis Andres Henao, The Associated Press

After Supreme Court backs Bremerton praying coach, no sweeping changes

Three months after the decision, there’s no sign that large numbers of coaches have been newly inspired to follow Joseph Kennedy’s high-profile example.
10 hours ago
(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

GOP candidate apologizes after antisemitic post surfaces

A GOP candidate for the Washington Legislature has acknowledged that a post he put on social media in 2020 is antisemitic.
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Case against source for Trump dossier advances, barely

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A judge is allowing prosecutors to move forward with their criminal case against an analyst who provided key details for a flawed dossier on ex-President Donald Trump, although the judge called his decision “an extremely close call.” Lawyers for Igor Danchenko asked a judge Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria […]
1 day ago
People walk toward the border crossing at Verkhny Lars between Georgia and Russia leaving Chmi, Nor...
Associated Press

Russia opens more border draft offices amid call-up exodus

Russian authorities are opening more military enlistment offices near Russia’s borders in an apparent effort to intercept some of the men of fighting age who are trying to leave Russia by land to avoid getting called up to fight in Ukraine. A new draft office opened in the Saratov region, at the Ozinki checkpoint on […]
1 day ago
This cover image released by Columbia Records shows "Only the Strong Survive" by Bruce Springsteen,...
Associated Press

Springsteen takes on Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops

NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Springsteen takes on the Four Tops, Temptations, Supremes, Frankie Wilson, Jimmy Ruffin and other soul legends in an album of cover songs due out next month. The disc “Only the Strong Survive” is named for the Jimmy Butler song, among the 15 other cover songs, which will be released on […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Members of extreme Jewish sect escape Mexican shelter

HUIXTLA, Mexico (AP) — About 20 members of an extreme ultra-orthodox Jewish sect overpowered guards and escaped a government shelter in southern Mexico where they had been held since one of their leaders was arrested last Friday on organized crime and human trafficking allegations. Mostly made up of children wearing long, flowing robes, members of […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Gas blasts rock central Mexican city, killing at least 1