Cuba Bids Farewell To Firefighters Killed In Fuel Depot Blaze

People holding flowers line up to pay they respect to 14 firefighters who died in a huge fire at an oil depot in early August, during the funeral service at the Firemen’s Museum in Matanzas, Cuba, on August 19, 2022. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

 

 

Thousands of Cubans turned out Friday to bid a final farewell to 14 firefighters killed while battling a blaze at a fuel depot this month.

A long line of firefighters, soldiers and ordinary citizens solemnly filed past 14 coffins draped in the Cuban flag at a ceremony in Matanzas, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the capital Havana.

Also on hand were several of the island nation’s top dignitaries, including leader Raul Castro, who headed an honor guard featuring President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Defense Minister General Alvaro Lopez Miera.

“A very sad day, it is very sad to say goodbye to those brothers who fought hard battles,” Yunior Exposito, a 32-year-old rescue and salvage technician who escaped the fire, told AFP as he wept.

 

A man injured during a huge fire at an oil depot in early August attends the funeral service for 14 firefighters who died trapped by the flames at the Firemen’s Museum in Matanzas, Cuba, on August 19, 2022. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

 

The blaze broke out on August 5 when lightning struck a tank containing 26 million liters of fuel at a depot on the outskirts of Matanzas, a city of some 140,000 people.

Early the next morning, a major explosion occurred when a second fuel tank caught fire — killing the firefighters already on site.

Two other firefighters had also died in the blaze. Some 130 people were injured, of whom 18 remain in hospital.

It took six more days to bring the fire under control, during which time the 14 firefighters were officially listed as missing.

Four of the depot’s eight fuel tanks were destroyed. Each had a capacity of some 50 million liters (13.2 million gallons).

 

View of urns and pictures of two of 14 firefighters who died in a huge fire at an oil depot in early August during their funeral service at the Firemen’s Museum in Matanzas, Cuba, on August 19, 2022. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

 

After missing firefighters’ remains were found, officials said Wednesday the bodies were too charred to allow for DNA identification.

The 14 were honored Friday on the second of two days of national mourning announced by Diaz-Canel, who offered his condolences via Twitter Thursday to loved ones of “these brave Cubans.”

 

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A child’s drawing is seen during the funeral service of the 14 firefighters who died in a huge fire at an oil depot in early August, at the Firemen’s Museum in Matanzas, Cuba, on August 19, 2022. – Thousands of Cubans turned out on Friday to bid a final farewell to 14 firefighters killed while battling a blaze at a fuel depot this month. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

 

The Matanzas depot supplies the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, the largest in communist Cuba.

The disaster comes at a time when the island — with an outdated energy network and persistent fuel shortages — has faced mounting difficulties in meeting energy demands.

Since May, authorities have imposed energy blackouts of up to 12 hours a day in some regions — sparking protests around the nation of 11 million people.

 

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Relatives of the firefighters who died in a huge fire at an oil depot in early August cry next to the urns in Matanzas, Cuba, on August 19, 2022. – Thousands of Cubans turned out on Friday to bid a final farewell to 14 firefighters killed while battling a blaze at a fuel depot this month. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

 

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / View of the funeral cortefe of the 14 firefighters who died in a huge fire at an oil depot in early August in Matanzas, Cuba, on August 19, 2022. – Thousands of Cubans turned out on Friday to bid a final farewell to 14 firefighters killed while battling a blaze at a fuel depot this month. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

 

 

Firefighters and soldiers participate in the funeral service for 14 firefighters who died in a huge fire at an oil depot in early August, at the Firemen’s Museum in Matanzas, Cuba, on August 19, 2022. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

 

Firefighters Battle Fire At Okobaba, Save Adjoining Buildings

A firefighter truck battling the inferno at Okobaba

 

Firefighters and emergency workers on Monday battled a raging a fire at the popular Okobaba sawmill in the Ebute-Metta area of Lagos State.

The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Olufemi One-Sanyintolu, who confirmed the incident said no casualty was recorded.

He explained that personnel of the agency’s fire unit battled the inferno along with their counterparts from the Lagos Fire and Federal Fire Services.

The LASEMA DG, however, raised concern that the activities of hoodlums in the area slowed down the progress.

“The agency has made a request for security cover as hoodlums and miscreants are hampering the efforts of the joint responders,” he said.

The agency later gave an update on the incident in the statement below:

The Agency deployed its resources to a fire outbreak at Okobaba Sawmill, Kadara Street, Ebute-Metta today, Monday, 18th July 2022 at about 1:57 pm.

Consequent upon the arrival of the LASEMA Response Team at Onipanu and LRU Fire at Cappa Base, at the scene of the incident, it was discovered that several shanties were engulfed by fire.

Upon investigation at the incident scene, the LASEMA Response Team discovered that the fire outbreak was caused by a sudden explosion of a gas cylinder while cooking.

Fortunately, no loss of lives or injuries were sustained, however, the inferno which cut across residential shanties on Okobaba, end of Kadara Street, and Coates Street was extinguished by the combined efforts of the Response Team.

Emergency responders at the scene are LASEMA Response Team, LRU Fire, Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service, NPF, Lagos State Task Force and the RRS.

The raging fire was prevented from spreading to Kano Street.

Other adjoining buildings surrounding the residential shanties were salvaged from the inferno.

Dampening down concluded.

 

See more photos below:

Tanker Explosion: How Firefighters Battled Inferno In Pictures

A combination of photos from the scene of the tanker explosion along the Alagbole-Akute Road in Ogun State on March 6, 2021. Channels Television/ Taiwo Adesina.

 

A petrol-laden tanker on Saturday morning exploded at the retail station of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) along the Alagbole-Akute Road in Ogun State.

Witnesses said the fire started at about 6:45am while the firefighters were immediately contacted, and they arrived at the scene at about 7:23am.

No injury or death was recorded as a result of the incident.

The incident occurred in a border community with Lagos while the firefighters seen at the scene were officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

Officials of the Federal Fire Service were also said to have arrived at the scene of the incident shortly after the fire had been put out.

READ ALSO: Petrol Tanker Explodes In Ogun Community

Highlights of how the firefighters battled the inferno are captured in the pictures below:

Fuel Tanker Explodes At Oshodi-Apapa Expressway

 

A tanker fully loaded with Premium Motor Spirit exploded on Thursday, at Toyota Bus stop, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in Lagos.

Firefighters have since arrived at the scene of the incident and are battling the fire as of the time of filing this report.

Officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority are also on the ground diverting vehicles to alternative routes.

Videos were shared by social media users who urged motorists to avoid the route.

 

According to eyewitnesses, the tanker fell on the road around 9.15 am spilling its content and eventually exploding in front of the Lagos State Fire Service on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway.

The Federal Fire Service in an update on its official handle shared photos of firefighters at the scene and noted that “the tanker fire situation at Toyota Bus stop, along Oshodi Apapa Expressway, Lagos State has been brought under control.”

 

Fire Guts IBEDC Power Station In Ibadan

The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Ibadan (IBEDC) power installation located in Akinyemi area of Ring Road, Ibadan was on Wednesday razed by fire.

The fire erupted in the early hours of the day and raged for hours.

Firefighters were alerted to the scene and they successfully contained the inferno.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained as at the time of this report. Some other facilities were however affected by the blaze.

PHOTOS: Firefighters Battle Inferno At Balogun Market

A scene from the section of the Balogun market gutted by fire in Lagos on January 29, 2020. Photos: [email protected]_JAGs.

 

 

Properties worth millions of naira are feared to have been destroyed in the raging fire at the popular Balogun market in Lagos.

The cause of the inferno which broke out on Wednesday morning has yet to be ascertained, as well as the casualty figure in the incident.

At least five buildings, including ‘Anambra Plaza’ were caught in the fire while some traders in the affected buildings threw down their goods through the windows.

 

The buildings are located on Sunny Adewale/ Martins Street in the Lagos Island area of the state.

However, firefighters and officials of the Central Business Districts (CBD) have arrived at the scene and making efforts to put out the fire.

See the photos below:

Australia PM Visits Beleaguered Firefighters, Apologises For Hawai Holiday

File: Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison (C) delivers a national apology to child sex abuse victims in the House of Representatives in Parliament House in Canberra on October 22, 2018. Morrison issued a national apology to victims of child sex abuse in an emotional address to parliament October 22, acknowledging the state failed to stop “evil dark crimes” committed over decades.
Sean Davey / AFP

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited firefighters battling Australia’s bushfire crisis on Sunday as he apologized for a Hawaiian holiday that ended early after public outrage.

Morrison toured the headquarters of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service — whose exhausted volunteers have been struggling to contain deadly, out-of-control-blazes for months on end — where he admitted he had erred in traveling overseas.

Morrison had departed for a family holiday amid record bushfires that have destroyed an area the size of Belgium and cloaked major cities from Brisbane to Sydney to Canberra to Melbourne in choking toxic fumes.

“I get it that people would have been upset to know that I was holidaying with my family while their families were under great stress,” he said.

READ ALSO: Thousands Call For Same-Sex Marriage In China

“If you had your time over again and the benefit of hindsight we would have made different decisions.”

News of his holiday prompted street protests and widespread criticism on social media, with Australians deploying the hashtag #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYa?

“I apologize,” he said. “There have been lessons learned this week,” adding that he believed it was time to move on from the controversy.

“I’m sure Australians are fair-minded and understand that when you make a promise to your kids, you try and keep it,” the conservative leader said by way of explanation.

The embattled prime minister again acknowledged some link between climate change and weather patterns that scientists say has fuelled the fire crisis, but he indicated there would be no change in pro-coal policies.

Heavy Rain Needed

Morrison also praised volunteer firefighters, who in the last 24 hours have faced catastrophic conditions brought by a record heatwave, gale-force winds and prolonged drought.

Australia’s firefighting force is overwhelmingly made up of volunteers who have been strained by the intensity and the length of this year’s fire season.

Conditions eased markedly on Sunday, giving them time to try to contain massive blazes near Sydney that are only likely to be extinguished with heavy rainfall.

Large scale back-burning is planned over the next few days before conditions are expected to worsen again in a week’s time.

Rain is expected in some fire-hit areas of New South Wales on Tuesday and Wednesday, a welcome Christmas gift for many.

But firefighters are still measuring the toll of Saturday’s destruction.

“We’ve seen widespread damage and destruction being reported across a number of these fire grounds,” said New South Wales Rural Fire Services boss Shane Fitzsimmons, who earlier described Saturday as “an awful day”.

“The devastation is shocking,” said New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian. “We have got the devastating news that there’s not much left in the town of Balmoral.”

The state of South Australia has also been hit hard. Two people died in fires there over the past two days, and dozens of firefighters and residents have been treated for injuries and smoke inhalation.

State premier Steven Marshall said that 72 homes had been destroyed in the Adelaide Hills alone, according to public broadcaster ABC.

Public Health Emergency

Officials said two fires — already big enough to create their own thunderstorms — had joined to form another “megafire” to the southwest of Sydney.

A fire-generated thunderstorm can occur when a smoke plume is cooled as it meets pressure in the atmosphere, creating a cloud capable of producing its own lightning and powerful winds.

The fires have torched at least three million hectares (7.4 million acres) of land with at least 10 people killed and more than 800 homes destroyed.

Leading doctors have warned of a public health emergency given the unprecedented toxic smoke choking Sydney, which again became a dense haze on Saturday.

“It is pretty much the whole New South Wales population being exposed to prolonged smoke and because we have never experienced this before, we don’t know what the eventual outcome will be,” Doctor Kim Loo told AFP.

“It probably won’t be obvious for months, or even years,” added Loo, who is also a member of advocacy group Doctors for the Environment.

Hospitals have recorded sharp increases in emergency room visits for heat exhaustion and respiratory problems.

AFP

Firefighters Battle New Blaze In California

 

Hundreds of California firefighters on Tuesday battled a wind-driven brush fire that grew out of control overnight near Santa Barbara, threatening thousands of homes and prompting evacuation orders.

The so-called “Cave Fire” that started on Monday in Los Padres National Forest, grew to nearly 4,300 acres (1,740 hectares) overnight as it moved toward populated areas in the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta and nearby communities about a two hours’ drive north of Los Angeles.

Some 600 firefighters were battling the blaze that prompted evacuation orders for about 2,300 homes, or nearly 5,500 people.

Fire officials said helicopters and fixed-wing planes were assisting the firefighters who faced steep, rugged terrain.

“The Cave Fire is burning under some of the toughest firefighting conditions anywhere in the world,” said Los Padres National Forest Fire Chief Jimmy Harris.

“We’ve experienced several offshore wind events at this point, and that has just dried the fuel bed out to the point where we’re seeing the fire behaviour we saw last night.”

He said the blaze was all the more challenging for firefighters as high winds were pushing the flames downhill and then back uphill.

Authorities said the fire, the cause of which was unknown, was zero per cent contained by midday Tuesday but they were hopeful that a storm set to arrive in the area later in the day would help extinguish the flames.

While the rain could bring much-needed relief for firefighters, officials warned that it may also prompt flash floods and debris flows.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said that about 4,000 people who were forced to evacuate would be allowed back into their homes Tuesday afternoon.

The blaze comes on the heels of a series of major fires that erupted in the state last month destroying homes and vineyards and forcing thousands of people to flee.

PHOTOS: Lagos Govt Demolishes Building Affected By Fire In Balogun Market

The five-storey building razed by fire at Balogun Market in Lagos Island has been demolished.

The demolition began after fire fighters completely put out the fire on Wednesday morning.

This demolitions follows the directive given by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during his earlier visit to the scene.

Structures beside the detected building will also undergo integrity test to determine their fitness and to ascertain if they will be demolished as well.

Makeshift shops close to the affected buildings have also be sealed by government agency to allow smooth operation by the government agencies.

 RELATED:

We Will Provide Relief Packages For Lagos Market Fire Victims – Sanwo-Olu

 Firefighters Battle Lagos Market Fire One Day After

The busy Balogun market was met with panic after a fire outbreak at a high rise building located in the market on Tuesday.

The fire which started in the morning destroyed goods worth millions of naira. A police officer was also reported killed while on duty at the scene. The officer died after a section of the burnt building caved in during rescue operation.

Some traders salvaged their goods while others lamented the havoc wreaked by the fire.

See photos below…

PHOTOS: Firefighters Battle Lagos Market Fire One Day After

A day after the fire outbreak at the Balogun market, in Lagos Island, firefighters are still at the scene of the incident trying to put out the fire completely.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) told Channels Television that petrol chemical substances and the fabric materials stored in one of the buildings continue to trigger flames, thereby stretching emergency operations.

READ ALSO: Balogun Market Fire: Sanwoolu Visits Scene As Emergency Operation Continues

Emergency management officials are also scene with heavy duty cranes and equipment spraying water into the areas where smoke and fire is being detected.

The Tuesday morning fire got the attention of the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who visited the scene on Wednesday and directed that integrity test be carried out on all the affected buildings.

A police officer was also reported killed while on duty at the scene. The officer died late last night after a section of the burnt building caved in during rescue operation.

Traders in the market are counting their losses as they say goods worth several millions of naira were destroyed.

See photos below…

Evacuations As Wildfire Breaks Out In Los Angeles

Firefighters hose down a house burning in the Getty Fire on October 28, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. Reported at 1:30 a.m., the fire quickly burned 600 acres and several homes and forced evacuations in an area near the Getty Center. PHOTO: David McNew/Getty Images/AFP

More than 1,000 firefighters battled a wind-driven blaze Monday that broke out near the renowned Getty Center in Los Angeles, prompting widespread evacuations as the flames destroyed several homes and forced the shutdown of schools and roads.

The so-called Getty Fire ignited overnight near a major freeway and quickly spread south and west towards neighborhoods, scorching some 600 acres (240 hectares) and sending people fleeing in the dark.

By Monday afternoon, fire crews had slowed the pace of the blaze and were racing to contain it before strong winds hit the region again Tuesday evening through Thursday.

Authorities said some 1,100 firefighters were battling an inferno that threatened 10,000 structures, many of them multi-million dollar homes.

Among those forced to flee was Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who tweeted that he and his family had evacuated his home in the upscale neighborhood of Brentwood during the night.

“Man these LA fires aren’t no joke,” he said. “Had to emergency evacuate my house and I’ve been driving around with my family trying to get rooms. No luck so far!”

He later tweeted that he had found a place to stay.

Arnold Schwarzenegger also said on Monday that he had to flee.

“We evacuated safely at 3:30 this morning,” the actor and former California governor tweeted. “If you are in an evacuation zone, don’t screw around. Get out.”

Monday night’s red carpet premiere in Los Angeles of “Terminator: Dark Fate,” starring Schwarzenegger, was canceled because of the fire.

“We will be donating food intended for the after-party to the American Red Cross, which is serving those affected by the fires,” Paramount said in a statement.

The Getty Center, which is home to a priceless art collection, said none of the pieces were under threat from the flames, notably because the building is designed to be fire resistant.

“Many have asked about the art — it is protected by state-of-the-art technology,” the museum said in a tweet.

The Getty Fire broke out as California has been dealing with a number of wildfires that have ignited throughout the state in the last week, forcing massive evacuations and power cuts.

– ‘We are devastated’ –

California’s governor declared a statewide emergency on Sunday as a wind-driven fire in the Sonoma wine region north of San Francisco spread out of control, forcing tens of thousands to flee.

The Kincade Fire, which erupted last Wednesday and is the largest so far this year, had spread to more than 66,000 acres — or more than 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) — by Monday afternoon and was only 15 percent contained.

Firefighters have also been battling a number of additional fires fed by strong winds, low humidity and high temperatures.

Residents who fled the Kincade Fire recalled hasty departures as they waited it out in the safety of a community center in Petaluma, California.

“The police came with loudspeakers. We weren’t expecting it,” said Kathy Amundson, who fled with her wheelchair-bound 90-year-old mother Joy.

“We smelled smoke, we couldn’t see it,” she said. “Looks like our home is safe but the fear is wind blowing embers and then it starts new fires.”

Others were not so lucky. The fire has destroyed dozens of homes and vineyards, including the renowned 150-year-old Soda Rock Winery.

– Dangerous fuel –

Authorities said more than 3,000 firefighters and responders were battling the Kincade Fire, which was not expected to be fully contained before November 7.

Firefighters are struggling to prevent the flames from spreading west toward areas that have not experienced fires since the 1940s and where the vegetation is dense and dry, providing dangerous fuel.

An estimated 180,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders, including parts of the city of Santa Rosa and a large swath of Sonoma County extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Nearly 80,000 structures are threatened, according to the county sheriff’s office.

In a bid to reduce the risk of fire, California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., has been turning off power to hundreds of thousands of customers across northern and central California.

PG&E has come under intense scrutiny after it emerged that one of its transmission lines may have played a role in the Kincade Fire.

The same type of line was responsible for California’s deadliest-ever wildfire — last year’s Camp Fire, which killed 86 people.

PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, has been blamed for several other fires in the state in recent years.

Firefighters Continue Rescue Efforts, Prevent Spread Of Lagos Factory Fire

Firefighters in Lagos on Sunday continued rescue efforts at a warehouse in Oba Akran, Ikeja Industrial Estate.

The fire was contained by men of the Lagos State Fire Service and officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) who intervened to forestall reignition and spread to neighbouring buildings.

The inferno broke out around 2:00 pm on Saturday and completely razed the warehouse owned by Godrej Nigeria Limited.

The warehouse contained finished products including hair extensions and cosmetics.

READ ALSO: Fire Guts Godrej Factory In Lagos

Emergency workers during rescue efforts on Saturday experienced difficulty in gaining access to some areas in the factory which ended up seriously affected by the fire.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined but eyewitnesses assume that it started from the drivers’ unit which shares a wall with the warehouse for finished goods.

See photos below…