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UPDATE: Mexichem/Pemex VCM plant blast kills 13

HOUSTON, April 21, 2016 (PCW) -- The explosion at the Pemex/Mexichem Clorados 3 VCM plant in Coatzacoalcos is now confirmed to have killed 13 people and injured scores more. The plant is a joint venture of Pemex and Mexichem.

The head of Mexico’s civil defense agency, Luis Felipe Puente, wrote in his Twitter account Thursday that emergency personnel had been able to enter the burned-out plant and found ten more cadavers. Three workers had been reported dead immediately following the blast Wednesday afternoon.

The state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, said 136 workers had been hurt in the blast in the industrial port city of Coatzacoalcos. Eighty-eight of the injured remained hospitalized.

Veracruz state Gov. Javier Duarte also told Radio Formula that the blast was felt as far as 6 miles (10 kilometers) away, adding that more than 2,000 people were evacuated from the area as a precaution.

Pemex reported the fire under control late Wednesday, but initially urged people to stay away from the area as a precaution.

The company said there was no longer any danger to people nearby. Still, local officials canceled classes at area schools for Thursday.

The Veracruz state Health Department said in a statement that two patients were in grave condition Wednesday night from burns to their air passages from toxic gases. Others were treated for minor burns, contusions and broken bones. -- Donna Todd

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