Matanzas, incendio, bomberos, desaparecidos

Experts reveal imprudence in the strategy to contain the Matanzas fire

MADRID, Spain.- A study carried out by fire experts explained why it was imprudent to send the firefighters who died in the fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base to the front line of fire, unleashed last August 5.

In statements to EFEspecialists from Spain and Mexico pointed out that there were errors from the initial response, including the excessive approach to the burning tanks, the means used and the strategy to fight the fire.

The Spanish firefighter Joaquín Marfil declared that “it is crazy to bring personnel closer” to the distance they did it, based on a video shared by the local newspaper Gironwhere the firefighters indicate that they were about 20 meters from the first tank on fire.

Marfil, whose experience includes having intervened in three fires in refineries, considered that a “defensive attack” of the fire should have been carried out and “focus on the surroundings.”

Another Pemex firefighting expert told the Spanish news agency: “Twenty meters is reckless, especially with a tank of that size. Also, in the video you can see that the equipment they had was honestly poor. That is abuse.”

While another specialist from the same company stated that trying to lower the temperature of the tanks at close range does not work.

“You can see the red tank, about to collapse… My God, how exasperating. If there was no way to suffocate it with foam, they were only exposing themselves,” said the expert in claims at hydrocarbon facilities.

In addition, they agreed that these deposits must have automatic fire protection systems.

“With the analysis of images from official media, such as those published by the magazine Bohemia and the local press, experts affirm that the appropriate strategy would have been to write off the first tank and work remotely on the second with machinery such as servo-controlled water cannons,” EFE quotes analysts.

“There are materials that you can install and monitor from a distance without putting yourself at risk. If you don’t have them, and you definitely can’t put out the fire or prevent it from spreading, what’s the point of putting your staff at risk?” said another interviewee.

Many of the firefighters did not have even a year of experience

The specialists also condemned the young age of the firefighters who were sent to put out the fire and that many had very little experience.

Based on testimonies obtained by EFE from people close to the victims, four of them were between 19 and 21 years old and were doing military service in firefighter commandos.

Such is the case of Leo Alejandro Doval Pérez de Prado, who had not yet been stationed at the Varadero airport for four months.

Doval, 19, had no intention of being a firefighter, but was going to study medicine after completing his military service.

While Adriano Rodríguez Gutiérrez, also 19 years old, had been doing his military service for nine months.

Michel Rodríguez Román, 20, and Fabián Naranjo Núñez, 21, were also in the front line of fire. Both were in fire commandos and had not completed two years of military service.

The experts insisted that “personnel with specific and continuous training” are necessary to deal with this type of fire.

After sharing this information, EFE indicated that it has requested an interview with the Cuban Fire Department, but has not received a response. Just as he stressed that the Cuban regime has not reported whether an investigation has been opened in this regard.

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