Colombia pipeline blast kills 11

December 24th, 2011 - 11:21 am ICT by IANS  

Bogota, Dec 24 (IANS/EFE) Eleven people were killed and 81 injured Friday when a gasoline pipeline exploded in the west-central Colombian town of Dosquebradas, authorities said.

“It’s a very sad morning,” Mayor Luz Ensue?o Betancourt said.

The Attorney General’s Office and technicians from state oil company Ecopetrol, the owner of the pipeline, are trying to determine whether the blast was caused by equipment failure or by people trying to steal fuel from the conduit, she said.

The 4.30 a.m. explosion and ensuing fire destroyed more than 30 homes and damaged dozens, forcing around 400 residents to seek temporary shelter at a school and sports complex.

Doctors at hospitals in Dosquebradas and nearby Pereira, capital of Risaralda province, say 17 of the injured are in very serious condition.

Mayor Betancourt said the fuel contaminated a local creek and the director of emergency services, Alfredo Mu?oz, urged residents not to use water from the area around the blast.

–IANS/EFE
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