14 dead, at least 100 hurt in Mexico oil co. blast
BY Associated Press
Friday, February 01, 2013
2/01/13 at 5:58 AM
An explosion at the main headquarters of Mexico's state-owned oil company in the capital killed 14 people and injured 100 on Thursday as it heavily damaged three floors of a building, sending hundreds into the streets and a large plume of smoke over the skyline.
Another 30 people remained trapped in the debris late Thursday, according to the Interior Ministry, as teams of military with rescue dogs showed up to extract the victims. The blast occurred in the basement of an administrative building next to the iconic, 51-story tower of Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, one of the tallest buildings in Mexico City.
"It was an explosion, a shock, the lights went out and suddenly there was a lot of debris," employee Cristian Obele told Milenio television, adding that he had been injured in the leg. "Co-workers helped us get out of the building."
Ana Vargas Palacio was distraught as she searched for her missing husband, Daniel Garcia Garcia, 36, who works where the explosion occurred at about 3:45 p.m. local time, when many workers were just returning from lunch. She said she last talked to him a couple hours earlier.
"I called his phone many times, but a young man answered and told me he found the phone in the debris," Vargas said. The two have an 11-year-old daughter. His mother, Gloria Garcia Castaneda, collapsed on a friend's arm, crying "My son. My son."
There was no immediate cause given for the explosion in a busy commercial and residential area. Pemex first said it had evacuated the building because of a problem with the electrical system. The company later tweeted that experts from the Attorney General's Office were analyzing the explosion and any reports of a cause were speculation.
The tower, where several thousand people work, was evacuated following the blast but not damaged, according to Gabriela Espinoza, 50, a Pemex secretary for 29 years who was on the second floor when the explosion next door occurred.
"There was a very loud roar. It was very ugly," she said.
The explosion occurred in the basement of a 13-story building across from the main tower in the Pemex complex, according to Emporis, which collects construction data worldwide.
Original Print Headline: 14 dead, at least 100 hurt in Mexico explosion
Firefighters and workers dig for survivors after an explosion at a building adjacent to the executive tower of Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex in Mexico City on Thursday. GUILLERMO GUTIERREZ/Associated Press