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Cuba fails to identify remains of 14 firefighters after fuel plant fire

#Cuba #fails #identify #remains #firefighters #fuel #plant #fire

The remains of 14 firefighters who died fighting a major blaze at a Cuban fuel depot last week were too badly burned to be identified, a specialist said Wednesday.

In all, 16 firefighters were killed and 17 others hospitalized in the major fire in Matanzas, on Cuba’s north coast.

“Because the remains found were exposed to high temperatures for a long time, DNA extraction is not possible,” said Jorge Gonzalez Perez, president of the Cuban Society of Forensic Medicine, at a press conference.

The fire first broke out on August 5 when lightning struck a tank containing 26 million liters of fuel.

A large explosion occurred early the next morning when a second fuel tank caught fire.

Gonzalez Perez said there were 30 people near the second tank at the time and that survivors’ statements allowed investigators to locate the remains of those who died.

“We have explained to relatives that we have 14 groups of skeletal remains that correspond to the 14 missing, but we cannot distinguish them from one another and cannot give the names of those who are there,” he said.

Four of the depot’s eight tanks – each with a capacity of 50 million liters (13.2 million gallons) of fuel – collapsed during the fire, which was eventually extinguished late last week.

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