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Explosion at Mexican Petrochemical Plant Kills 13, Injures Over 130

by Associated Press / / Source: Associated Press
A plume of smoke rises over the State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos' petrochemical plant
A plume of smoke rises over the State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos' petrochemical plant in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, Wednesday April 20, 2016. An explosion ripped through a petrochemical plant on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, killing 3 people, injuring dozens and sending flames and a toxin-filled cloud into the air, officials said. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)Felix Marquez / AP

An explosion and fire at a petrochemical plant on Mexico's southern Gulf coast killed 13 people, and as many as 136 were injured.

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency, Luis Felipe Puente, wrote in his Twitter account Thursday that emergency personnel had been able to enter the burned-out plant and found ten more cadavers. Three workers had been reported dead immediately following the blast Wednesday afternoon.

The state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, said 136 workers had been hurt in the blast in the industrial port city of Coatzacoalcos. Eighty-eight of the injured remained hospitalized.

Veracruz state Gov. Javier Duarte also told Radio Formula that the blast was felt as far as six miles (10 kilometers) away, adding that more than 2,000 people were evacuated from the area as a precaution.

Pemex reported the fire under control late Wednesday, but initially urged people to stay away from the area as a precaution.

"The cloud that emanated from the PMV plant in Coatzacoalcos is dissipating rapidly, which means it is losing its toxic effects," it said via its Twitter account.

The company said there was no longer any danger to people nearby. Still, local officials canceled classes at area schools for Thursday.

Pemex said explosion occurred in the Clorados 3 plant of Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo. It said the plant is operated by another company, Mexichem, in partnership with Pemex. The plant produces vinyl chloride, a hazardous industrial chemical that is used to make PVC pipes and for other purposes.

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