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Mexico City gas tanker explosion kills at least 22

05.08.2013  | 

One of the two gas tanks broke away from the truck in the San Pedro Xalostoc neighborhood just off the highway, setting fire to everything flammable in its path. The truck was identified as belonging to a company called Termogas, which distributes gas in several Mexican states.



MEXICO CITY -- A Mexican tanker truck loaded with liquefied petroleum gas crashed through a guard rail early Tuesday along a highway just north of Mexico City, plunging into a poor neighborhood and killing at least 22 people as the gas exploded.

One of the two gas tanks broke away from the truck in the San Pedro Xalostoc neighborhood just off the highway, setting fire to everything flammable in its path.

The Mexico state government on Wednesday gave a preliminary death toll of 22, and said 32 others were being treated in various hospitals, with ages ranging from eight months to 74 years old. The driver survived and was in the hospital under arrest.

The truck was identified as belonging to a company called Termogas, which distributes gas in several Mexican states. The company's website was offline Tuesday, and company phones weren't being answered.

The driver, Juan Olivares, 36, was heading to Mexico City from Pachuca, a city to the north, when he hit the center divider, said Jose Luis Cervantes, assistant prosecutor for the state of Mexico, the Associated Press reported.

Juan Valentin Maldonado Torres, 42 years old, said he and his family were sleeping when they heard an explosion at around 5:30 a.m. and awoke to find their roof on fire.

"We ran, we ran for our lives," he said in front of his destroyed home, which sits several yards from the highway along a muddy stream.

His sons, age 3 and 5, ran for the door as he scooped up his wife and 11-year-old daughter. The five slept in one room, with the children on bunk beds that were charred to their metal springs from the blaze.

Mr. Maldonado said five of the houses destroyed belonged to relatives of his, and that two relatives had been taken to the hospital.

State and federal police, fire brigades, ambulances and army rescue teams doused fires and rushed away victims following the blast. Later, civil-defense brigades began to remove dead animals, and the government electricity company began to restore power lines.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said he ordered the Communications and Transport Ministry to conduct a review of conditions next to the highway to take measures to improve safety.

Dow Jones Newswires

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Joseph C

I have visited and driven in Mexico City, and the roads and traffic are terrible. A "defensive driving" course in Mexico will do you no good. The driver probably swerved to avoid a dog or a manhole (as the manhole covers are generally stolen and missing). All the regulations and training that have been mentioned don't apply in Mexico for the most part.

Adriaan Venter

Again, the police arrested the wrong person. They suffer from "Ignorentarrestpsycoli" they have to first find the following facts;
- Is the truck equiped with a [IVMS] In-Vehicle-Monitoring-System,
if not, the Company CEO is to be arrested for gross neglegence.
- If the driver was overspeeding - the IVMS will tell- sure then he
must be arrested. - What failed on the truck - Does the
company has a datail A to Z Vehicle inspection regime: Pre-
Trip Daily inspection; Weekly Inspection by qualified Mechanic,
Monthly Bumper to Bumper Inspection by Auto & General
qualified Mechanic. - If this company doesn't have an Inter-
nationally accredited "Defensive Driving Course" for all truck
operators, then lock up the CEO and throw the key in Atlantic

- Was there any distraction on the road, Maybe a "Road-Pig"
caused the incident.
- Road Traffic Signs and markings correct and in place
- Did the truck maybe had a tire blown? What is is the condition
of the tires, Maybe recaps?, Maybe outdated? maybe zero
traction, Maybe the wrong type of tires for the truck, i.e. winter or
summer type ? Maybe over- or-under inflated, Air or nitrogen
- Last but not least and may the MOST important: Why does LPG
and other highly and explosive flammables allowed on a road
that runs next to or close to suburbs. Tankers that MUST enter
these type of suburbs need to be of the double-tank-shell
specially designed road tanker type vehicles.
These type of companies CEO's needs to be held accountable and not so much the vehicle operators.

Bilal AHmed Awan

Road Safety Training for the drivers is a must. Companies running LPG Transportation business shall adopt strict driving standards and regular counseling of their staff on safety precautions needed.

A. Aziz Ansari

LPG is very dangerous HC contents and this might be exploded and caught fire on continuous accumulation of HC leaked from the tanker and found ignition source in its way near the residences. If tanker is damaged or exploded then this might be the case of BLEVE which is a concern for the safety authorities checking and verifying the LPG lorries/tanker.

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