A un año del incendio industrial de Matanzas: gobierno de Cuba no ofrece informe oficial

The firefighters at the Francisco Toro station in Matanzas still remember the burns marks from that fateful August 5th day when they faced the major industrial disaster that would later be cataloged as a major catastrophe in Cuba’s history.

In the industrial area of Matanzas, precisely on August 5, 2022, so far no official investigation by the Cuban government has clarified what happened.

In that province, inexperienced young people between the ages of 19 and 21 were performing military service, among them 17 deaths were caused by the serious fire.

I had to go to work that day, so even though I received a call and had to rush out, I couldn’t take a day off. The industrial area housed a storage capacity of 50,000 cubic meters of crude oil, with a total of 12 tanks. It has been 63 years since a deadly incident occurred, where one of the tanker trucks from the special command of firefighters led to a tragic loss of life.

Francisco arrived first in the dawn of August 6th to 5th, after the initial deposit of lightning fell and started burning.

“That was startling: the smoke, the flames, I had never witnessed a fire of that enormity before,” recollects the bystander.

It took a week for specialized Cuban forces, along with experts from Venezuela and Mexico, to completely extinguish the flames that had devoured the rest of the tanks.

Francisco Pero was completely unaware of the magnitude of the situation: “I believed it was just an ordinary fire that would be put out quickly, allowing me to return home and continue resting.”

“I recount,” burning” t-shirt) I have to account for myself there and complete it lit up a ball of fire but I got in my car and ran out of there, he gave us all and an explosion occurs seconds later. On the road, looking for there, we all ran out and an explosion occurs seconds later. “


Francisco, who lives in a modest house in the Versailles community in Matanzas, has a conversation in his living room that pauses when smoke dyed the sky black and uncertainty and silence lingered for several days in those August days from that same corner.

He was looking for that hellish exit, desperate to put out the fire, when the explosion occurred, setting four cars on fire in a matter of seconds.

He quedó aturdido durante unos segundos y recibió un golpe en la cabeza, pero luego se volcó por la hierba rodando para apagar las llamas que le quemaban la espalda y los codos.

Francisco expressed his sorrow regarding his colleagues, whose location remained unknown during the initial days. “Now they are truly caught,” he pondered, amidst the chaos. I no longer saw the firefighters (who were inside the initial tank before the explosion).

“Finally, Francisco found luck as he encountered the rest of his colleagues and the ambulance on the road that he was carrying to the town.”

Francisco has resumed his life, despite considering his traumatic experience as a “learned” lesson, without fearing that type of lucky person on those days.