Fire caused by lightning storm hits Venezuela's Puerto la Cruz refinery

(Reuters) - A fire caused by a lightning storm broke out at Venezuela's Puerto la Cruz refinery on Monday, leaving a tall plume of black smoke, according to government officials and sources.

The event is the most recent outage affecting state-run PDVSA's facilities, following another fire on the weekend that hit a fuel terminal and a tanker.

The incident left no injuries, but the flames had not been extinguished and workers were removed from the facility, located on Venezuela's eastern coast, according to oil minister Tareck El Aissami.

"The refinery's tanks and plants were not affected. But is a considerable fire within the refinery," he said on state TV.

Venezuela's deputy minister for Risk Management and Civil Protection Carlos Perez said earlier on Twitter that PDVSA's firefighters and other crews were on site fighting the flames, which began at a residual deposit in the refinery.

"A residual deposit in the industrial services area caught fire around 2 p.m.. It's a separating area where fuel goes, including leftover gasoline," one of the sources said.

(Reporting by Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Deisy Buitrago in Caracas and Marianna Parraga in Houston Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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