Nov 18 Update: Cause of the accident found out- please click here for the detailed story.
This week seems to be the season of refinery accidents. After the Tesoro refinery fire, now we have another one, this time in Puerto Rico.
Oct 25, 2009- A large fire that reportedly broke out in the Caribbean Petroleum Corporation’s Bayamon facility in Puerto Rico is still raging without any signs of getting under control anytime soon. More than 150 firefighters are working continuously at the scene, backed by the National Guard. News from various sources say that about 1500 people have been evacuated from their homes. Schools in the vicity are reportedly closed due to the incident.
The fire began after an explosion in the facility, that was heard for miles around. Surprisingly explosions reportedly happened in as many of 12 out of the 40 or so storage tanks at the location.
What adds a twist in the tale is the suspicion, that it may have been an act of sabotage. To investigate this aspect, sources claim that FBI agents are on the hunt for the perpetrators, who have scrawled graffiti about it in a San Juan tunnel.
The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB for short), has also stepped in to investigate and has now deployed a six member team of investigators to travel to Puerto Rico immediately. CSB Investigator Jeff Wanko, PE, will lead the team which is expected on the island soon.
And to top it all, a lawyer has already gone ahead and filed a class action suit against Caribbean Petroleum Company in the Federal District court in San Juan.
A huge cloud of acrid smoke, as seen in the picture below has started enveloping parts of San Juan. However Gov. Loius Fortuno, reportedly denied to reporters that the event can be classed as an environmental disaster.
Here’s a picture of the fire that gives a perspective of it’s scope and severity.
Stay tuned for more developments on this one on this blog.