At least three people were killed and other 136 injured after a large explosion hit an oil plant in the south-east Mexican state of Veracruz.
The facility is owned by Mexico’s state oil company, Pemex, in the port city of Coatzacoalcos.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated and schools closed. Footage showed a large fire and vast plumes of smoke.
The cause of the explosion is unclear. Several blasts have been reported at Pemex facilities in recent years.
The latest incident occurred at around 15:15 local time, Pemex said in a statement. Veracruz state Governor Javier Duarte told a radio station the blast was felt 6 miles away.
The fire was under control by early evening, Pemex said. Residents were told to stay indoors because of the possible toxic nature of the smoke from the blast, but Pemex said the smoke dissipated quickly, lessening any possible toxic effects.
According to Pemex, of the 136 people injured, 88 remain in hospital, 13 of whom are in a serious condition.
Video posted on social media purporting to show a local hospital showed scenes of chaos and patients suffering heavy blood loss.
Pemex said the part of the factory hit by the explosion was managed by a sister company, Mexichem.
Associated Press reported that the plant produces vinyl chloride, a dangerous chemical used to make PVC pipes and packaging materials.
Exports of oil from the plant, one of the largest terminals for oil distribution in Mexico, would not be affected, the company added.
Pemex’s own headquarters in Mexico City was hit by a large gas blast in January 2013, killing 37 people.
A 6.3- magnitude earthquake has hit eastern Mexico, with no immediate reports of damage or injury.
A 6.3- magnitude earthquake has hit eastern Mexico, with no immediate reports of damage or injury
According to the US Geological Survey, the quake was centered in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, about 260 miles east-southeast of Mexico City. The epicenter was relatively deep, 59 miles below the surface.
Local news media in Veracruz reported the 5:46 AM quake was felt strongly there, and it rocked buildings at least as far away as Mexico City.
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