Paramedics wheel an injured person to a helicopter at the
parking lot of the state-run oil company Pemex after an
explosion in Mexico City. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo
An explosion rocked the Mexico City headquarters of state
oil giant Pemex on Thursday, killing at least 14 people and
injuring 80 others, the government said.
The blast, which media reports said was caused by machinery,
hit the lower floors of the downtown building, throwing
debris into the streets and sending workers running outside.
Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told Mexican
television the blast had killed 14 people and injured 80. It
was not yet clear what caused the explosion, and the death
toll could still rise, he added.
Police quickly cordoned off the building, and television
images showed the explosion blew out windows on the lower
floors of the tower and damaged the ground floor. Some people
at the scene said the blast came from a neighboring building.
"The place shook, we lost power and suddenly there was debris
everywhere. Colleagues were helping us out of the building,"
witness Cristian Obele told Milenio news network.
Helicopters buzzed around the building and lines of fire
trucks sped to the entrance, while emergency workers ferried
injured people through wreckage strewn on the street.
Pemex said initially the building had been evacuated because
of a problem with its electricity supply. It then said there
had been an explosion, but did not say what caused it.
Plaster fell from the ceiling of the basement, and the
situation at the Pemex tower was dangerous, a spokesman for
local emergency services said.
Pemex has experienced a number of deadly accidents in recent
years. In September, 30 people died after an explosion at a
Pemex natural gas facility in northern Mexico.