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Gas Leak and Explosion

By Jesús Aguado

On the morning of Saturday, January 13, a crash occurred that was felt for a radius of two kilometers. The event left one of the towers of the residential development Capilla de Piedra uninhabitable and three persons injured, one of them trapped under the debris for six hours.

Around 9am, officials said that a gas tank had exploded and that there were two victims. At 10:30am the information changed. It was reported that the explosion was caused by the accumulation of gas in an apartment, and another victim was discovered, a man whose feet were stuck under a piece of concrete. He was alive, and paramedics were assisting him.

At 2:28pm, the victim buried under the debris was rescued and taken to a private hospital. The next day, his brother posted on Facebook that he was “stable, conscious, and recovering.”

On Monday, January 15, at a meeting with the press, Director of the Civil Protection Department Alan Álvarez explained that the explosion was caused by the accumulation of gas in an apartment that had been vacant for five days. There was a gas leak in the fireplace on the second floor, in a five-story tower. Álvarez said the building now must be totally collapsed before anybody can live on the first story. With regard to the collateral damage, Director Álvarez assured that the Ministerio Público is investigating, and they will provide a final report stating who has to pay for the damage.

After this misfortune, the Civil Protection Department found that the gas tanks are connected and will separation and send a document to the developers recommending their relocation to more ventilated areas.

Although it was acknowledged that the emergency services do not have the proper rescue tools for the geography of San Miguel de Allende, Álvarez said that people from the Fire Department, the Red Cross, Civil Protection Department, and other services are well trained to respond, regardless of the lack of equipment. He also mentioned that the modernization of the equipment of the nongovernmental associations is now the responsibility of their boards. The Red Cross has a municipal annual subsidy of 1,248,000 pesos and the Fire Department, 706,992 pesos.


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