Chavez orders blast investigation
PUNTO FIJO, VenezuelaVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared three days of mourning and ordered an investigation to determine the cause of the explosion at the country’s biggest oil refinery that killed 39 people.
A huge explosion rocked Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery, Amuay, and unleashed a ferocious fire on Aug. 25, killing at least 39 people and injuring more than 80 others in one of the deadliest disasters ever to hit the country’s key oil industry.
Chavez expressed his sympathy to the families of the dead, urging calm because “fortunately, the greatest danger has been controlled.” Ordering a “thorough investigation,” he vowed to help the people who have been displaced from their homes at the refinery complex, which also houses workers and their relatives, and in impoverished neighborhoods nearby, according to Agence France-Presse.
Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said a panel of investigators was being formed to determine the cause of the gas leak. A prosecutor was appointed to lead the investigation and troops were deployed to the area, the Associated Press reported. While the cause of the disaster remains unclear, some oil workers and critics of Chavez’s government have recently pointed to increasing numbers of smaller accidents and spills as an indication of problems within the state-run company.