A firefighter was killed trying to put out a massive blaze at a crude refinery in southern Mexico, state oil company Pemex said today. The fire, which broke out Wednesday and remains out of control, also left nine people injured at the Salina Cruz refinery in the state of Oaxaca. Pemex said it expected to have the fire controlled "in the coming hours." The company blamed the fire on Tropical Storm Calvin, which lashed southern Mexico this week.
Flooding caused the refinery's waste retention ponds to overflow, spilling flammable byproducts, it said. Thousands of nearby residents were evacuated as the fire engulfed a large part of the refinery and sent a giant plume of smoke into the sky, local media reported. The refinery is one of the largest in Mexico, with a processing capacity of 330,000 barrels of crude a day. In recent years, Pemex has been hit by a string of fires and explosions at its facilities. In April last year, 32 people died and more than 100 were injured in an explosion at a petrochemical plant in the eastern state of Veracruz.
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