Mexico: 25 Killed in Massive Explosion at Pemex Oil HQ

The blast occurred at the mezzanine level of an office building's auxiliary facility

25 people were killed and another hundred incurred serious injuries during a massive explosion in Mexico City, on Thursday, January 31.

An annex to a building used as HQ by the state-owned Pemex Oil company blew up, Russia Today writes. The blast occurred at the mezzanine level of the facility adjacent to a skyscraper used for office space.

According to Interior department spokesman Eduardo Sanchez, the auxiliary facility's first and second floors have been wrecked in the explosion.

Three office building floors have also been damaged, with windows blown to pieces. Several employees were struck by falling debris, The Guardian adds.

The latter publication lists the number of casualties at 14, and the number of injured victims at 80, citing a statement by Interior minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong.

“It was an explosion, a shock, the lights went out and suddenly there was a lot of debris. [...] Coworkers helped us get out of the building,” said employee Cristian Obele, who suffered a leg wound.

“We were talking and all of sudden we heard an explosion with white smoke and glass falling from the windows. [...] People started running from the building covered in dust. A lot of pieces were flying,” adds neighbor Maria Concepcion Andrade.

Emergency operators dispatched four helicopters for victims' transportation to area hospitals. While several people remained trapped in the building, efforts were being made to free them.

The skyscraper has been evacuated, while surrounding streets have been closed down and parked vehicles have been moved by trucks to make way for medical choppers.

The country's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, is getting involved in managing rescue operations.

“The priority at this time is to attend to the injured and to safeguard the physical integrity of those who work [at the site],” he says in a statement.

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