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Explosion kills 39 at oil refinery

posted 26 Aug 2012, 05:41 by Mpelembe   [ updated 26 Aug 2012, 05:42 ]

At least 39 are dead, with more than 50 wounded, after a gas leak triggered an explosion at Venezuela's biggest oil refinery. Jessica Gray reports.

VENEZUELA-REFINERY - Flames burn brightly here at Venezuela's largest oil refinery in the nation's worst industrial accident in memory.

On Saturday, a deadly explosion ripped through the facility triggered by a gas leak, killing at least 39 people and wounding dozens more.

A day later, firefighters had the blaze under control, prompting crews to begin the massive task of getting the refinery back online.

The explosion comes after years fraught with repeated accidents and outages at plants run by state oil producer PDVSA.

Some residents nearby worried about the potential for even worse incidents.


"PDVSA should buy all of these houses and get us out of this community because we are at a very high risk here. We are the most affected in this community not only because of the gases but also all the other things the refinery puts out."

Critics blame the poor management on Hugo Chavez's government just ahead of October elections.

Venezuela is a top oil supplier for the United States and Caribbean area.