Friday, February 3, 2023

Cubans bid farewell to firefighters killed in blaze as heroes

HAVANA ( Associated Press) – Thousands of people gathered with flowers and candles in the Cuban city of Matanzas on Friday for a funeral ceremony for 14 firefighters killed in a blaze at an oil storage area earlier this month.

After the fire was extinguished, the remains of the skeleton that could be removed were respected.

The flames at the Matanzas supertanker base, 100 km from Havana, were uncontrollable, and could only be extinguished a week after the fire broke out. Some 132 people were injured and two died in addition to 14 firefighters who were initially reported missing.

Thousands turned up for the ceremony at the Matanzas Firefighters Museum, which paraded one by one in front of 14 ossuaries while uniformed officers guarded them. The place had flower arrangements sent by President Miguel Díaz-Canel and former President Raúl Castro.

On Wednesday, Dr. Jorge Gonzalez, the forensic doctor in charge of discovering the remains after the fire was put out, indicated that 14 groups of skeletal remains had been found but it was impossible to identify who they belonged to because of the heat. Received, over 1,000 °C.

For this reason, a mass tribute was decided and national television interrupted its programming to air moments of the ceremony.

The authorities had released the list with the names, photos and places of residence of the dead a day earlier.

There is no official estimate of the material damage caused by the event, but the base is a critical infrastructure for the national power system, which is facing a severe crisis with frequent blackouts, as thermoelectric power generation systems are used to generate electricity. Part of the crude oil used by plants is concentrated…

According to officials, the fire started on August 5 due to a lightning strike on one tank and spread to three others, which continued to burn for a week.

Nation World News Desk
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