“Boom, fire, RIP, Gulf.” Police and FBI agents are investigating this graffiti discovered in a highway tunnel following an early morning fuel storage explosion in Puerto Rico. The facility supplies Gulf gas stations island wide.
“Everything is very preliminary at this point but obviously we’re looking into the graffiti and it’s a concern,” said Figueroa Sancho in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
Friday’s 12:30 AM blast rocked the Catano plant that includes a gasoline warehouse and distribution center located across the bay from Puerto Rico’s capitol, San Juan.
No deaths were reported but several drivers were injured when the boom shattered glass in their vehicles. Fortunately, all workers at the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. facility were unharmed. Caribbean Petroleum Corp owns the Gulf brand in Puerto Rico.
Gov. Luis Fortuno stated one person needed treatment for smoke inhalation and two others from the U.S. Army’s Fort Buchanan base near the plant had minor injuries. The governor also reported that 11 of the 40 fuel tanks at the plant were on fire, according to the Associated Press.
Eighty-five firefighters with 20 fire trucks were trying to contain the fire said Fortuno. Chilling the remaining tanks was necessary to prevent them from exploding while dozens of fuel trucks in the area were moved as a precaution.
The plant fire intensified after the initial eruption and will take several days to extinguish. Flames could be seen miles away and billows of black smoke hovered over the island causing the Federal Aviation Administration to reroute plane traffic.
Evacuation was ordered for communities downwind of the inky smoke and nearby residents were advised to keep their windows closed. Approximately 80 people residing in a secure facility for Justice Department witnesses were also relocated, said attorney general Antonio Sagardia. Area schools are closed today.
The early morning explosion blew out windows, shook the ground and was equivalent to a 2.8 magnitude earthquake, according to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network.