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Explosion Hits State Oil Company Building In Mexico City

Firefighters belonging to the Tacubaya sector and workers dig for survivors after an explosion at a building adjacent to the executive tower of Mexico's state-owned oil company PEMEX.
Guillermo Gutierrez
Firefighters belonging to the Tacubaya sector and workers dig for survivors after an explosion at a building adjacent to the executive tower of Mexico's state-owned oil company PEMEX.

What appears to be a significant explosion has rocked the Pemex tower in Mexico City. Television images are showing smoke billowing from the glass high rise in the Mexican capital.

Pemex, the state-owned oil company, tweeted that an explosion happened in a building that is part of the oil giant's headquarters. According to the company and the country's interior minister, 14 people are dead and 80 are injured.

The cause of the explosion, the office of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said, has not been determined.

The towers, Pemex said, have been evacuated.

This is a breaking news story. We'll update this page with more as it develops.

Update at 9:58 p.m. ET. Cause Of Explosion Unknown: Injured Numbers Rise

The country's interior minister says 100 people were injured in the explosion. Another 30 people are trapped, the ministry said.

Update at 7:54 p.m. ET. Cause Of Explosion Unknown:

The office of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has issued a statement saying that the cause of the explosion is "still unknown."

"Part of the personelle who work at Pemex's central offices is still inside the installations," the statement goes on.

Update at 7:30 p.m. ET. 'An Amazing Explosion':

NPR's Carrie Kahn is now at the scene in Mexico City. She said she spoke to one person who was in the 10th floor of the building, who described "an amazing explosion." When the explosion happened, the witness said he was thrown from his chair.

"At first they thought it was an earthquake," Carrie tells our Newscast unit. "They said all of sudden ceiling panels started falling out, glass started breaking and there was just silence for about four or five seconds and then everyone started to get up and run out. They had to climb down 10 flights of stairs and he said as they got to the bottom of building, that's when they started to see the injured and hear the screaming. They saw people full of blood."

Carrie says the army has made it to the area and about four city blocks are cordoned off.

Update at 7:27 p.m. ET. 14 Dead:

Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, just tweeted that they have confirmed 14 people have died and that 80 are injured.

Update at 7:21 p.m. ET. Ordered Investigation:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto just tweeted that federal authorities are helping with the rescue efforts.

"I've ordered the corresponding authorities to implement rescue efforts and investigate what happened," he tweeted. "The priority is to tend to the injured and safeguard those who work there."

Update at 6:48 p.m. ET. An Explosion, Then Rubble:

Cristian Obele, who was in the building when the explosion happened, tells Milenio that employees did not receive any warning.

"Something exploded and we were covered in rubble," Obele said.

Update at 6:27 p.m. ET. Live Coverage:

Milenio Television is carrying live coverage in Spanish. The television station is showing images of chaos: medical teams tending to those injured; throngs of people making their way out of the building. Pictures tweeted by Milenio show firefighters sifting through the rubble in a search of those injured.

Update at 6:15 p.m. ET. Source Of The Explosion?:

Citing state sources, El Universal reports the explosion happened due to the overheating of an air conditioner.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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