Caribean Inferno

A great fire in a chemical plant in the port of Limon leaves a toll of 1 dead worker among 3 badly burned yesterday when a tank of highly flamable material exploded mushrooming into 300 feet high flames, with the danger of about 10 more of these storing highly toxic chemicals such as Xylene and Toluene (about 118 tons of it).

This event, wich is by far the biggest one the population of this port can remember since the 1990 earthquaqe ocurred at 11:30 and took the firefighters about ten hours to extinguish because of the nature of the fire and the difficulty  finding water to use with the foam.

Quimicas Holanda, an industrial chemical concern in Costa Rica belonging to Brenntag corp. reported having a similar incident in Pontevedra, Spain about 3 months ago.

This storage facility in the port of Moin, in Limon, Costa Rica is located about 200 yards from the main entrance to the port, reason why all the ships that were about to load were instructed to leave the premises until the situation was  under control.

There was also the risk of the flames reaching a village nearby so some 500 people were evacuated from there with the help of the local authorities. Early this morning they were returning to their homes.

The emergency left great part of the town without water as the piping that connected near the facilities was closed to prevent the flamable material from reaching it and extending the fire.

This morning, the first signs of enviromental damage started showing as about ten species of dead fish appeared floating on the moin river. The government says it will take some days to evaluate the total damage that may have ocurred in the sorroundings.

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