Published on Jan 23, 2013
An accidental leak is thought to have caused the September 18 explosion at the Pemex natural gas distribution plant in Reynosa which caused a wall of three-storey high flames to rip through the distribution centre in a the blink of an eye. Footage shows trucks and workers coming into the plant on what appears to be a routine day. The plant, situated near the US border is operated by Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos and the centre distributes gas to a processing plant next door which produces fuel. Eyewitnesses said the ground shook briefly before the pipeline exploded. These moving images show the impact of the blast which is followed by a cloud of thick black smoke and fire which engulfs the entire site in a matter of seconds. "We had to climb the wall from that side because the fire, the heat was reaching us," 18 year old worker Vazquez later told The Seattle Times. Towards the end of the one minute and thirty second clip, a worker can be seen crawling on his stomach under the flames as he attempts to move towards an outbuilding in an attempt to reach safety.
At least 26 people died in the explosion and the fire which followed and another 46 were injured in the blast. Ranches and homes within five kilometers of the site were evacuated, though emergency workers managed to bring the blaze under control before it could spread to the neighboring gas plant.
While gasoline and diesel pipelines are routinely tapped by thieves in Mexico, officials said it was rare for natural gas pipelines to be targeted by robbers.