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Lightning strike on oil storage tank in Cuba causes massive fire

By Sahar Akbarzai and Patrick Oppmann, CNN

Lightning struck a large oil storage tank on Friday evening in Matanzas, Cuba, causing a huge fire.

“We are closely following the confrontation with the fire in the industrial zone. We trust the authorities of the brave province, the brave firefighters, and the CUPET workers,” tweeted President Miguel Díaz-Canel, referring to the state-owned Cuba Oil Union.

Cuba’s state-run media said no deaths had been reported.

The massive fire comes at a time when Cuba faces a deepening energy crisis amid fuel shortages.

“No human losses, injuries or fuel spillage into the sea were reported after the fire,” tweeted Cuba’s Ministry of Energy and Mines.

An electrical discharge at the base of the oil tank, which stores crude oil, caused the fire, according to Susely Morfa González, the first secretary of the Community Party of Cuba in the province of Matanzas.

The fire did not impact the Thermoelectric Powerplant Antonio Guiteras, the ministry said, which contributes to the national electricity system.

Authorities of the province, the fire department, the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, and the Ministry of Interior are battling the flames, said González.

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