Last week, a gasoline pipeline exploded in central Mexico, killing 91 people, with numbers expected to surpass 100. Mexico’s state-owned oil company, Pemex, did not respond properly to the initial leak, which resulted in backlash from citizens towards the newly appointed President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The leak is believed to have been caused by thieves attempting to steal fuel after President Lopez Obrador mandated all pipelines close in an effort to crackdown on criminal activity in late December.
According to Reuters, Pemex held a press conference on Monday where an engineer stated the leak began as a “small puddle” in the Tlahuelilpan district of Hidalgo, and later resulted in a “fountain” of fuel. The engineer added that the company was able to “take actions.”
What those actions were exactly isn’t clear, and the company didn’t say when they shut off the flow of fuel.
Hundreds of local residents rushed to the punctured pipeline to collect fuel and were caught in the explosion.
Pemex Chief Executive Octavio Romero defended the company’s actions and said that they followed protocol, but would not admit to any negligence or corruption.
“Everything will be looked at,” said Romero.
However, Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said there is a current investigation underway into possible negligence and will call in all of the officials involved to answer questions this week.
Additionally, a nearby pipeline a few miles southwest of Tlahuelilpan was also breached on Monday by suspected thieves, according to Hidalgo Governor Omar Fayad.
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