Nine injured in Mexico oil refinery fire

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A general view shows Mexico's state-owned oil firm Pemex Salina Cruz refinery, which suspended operations due heavy rains by Tropical storm Calvin, in Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca state, Mexico, June 13, 2017.

MEXICO CITY – Nine people were injured when a fire broke out at a crude refinery in southern Mexico, state oil company Pemex said Wednesday, its latest in a series of accidents.

 

The company said its firefighters were still working to put out the blaze, which sent a huge column of black smoke into the sky at the Salina Cruz refinery in the state of Oaxaca.

"The fire is contained within the refinery," Pemex said in a statement.

Nine people received medical treatment for minor injuries, of whom eight have already been released, it said.

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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.

The refinery is one of the largest in Mexico, with a processing capacity of 330,000 barrels of crude a day.

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In recent years, Pemex has been hit by a string of fires and explosions at its facilities.

Three months ago, an explosion at a Pemex refinery in the central state of Guanajuato left eight people injured.

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 that is a joint venture between Pemex and private firm Mexichem.