More than seventy people lost their lives when a pierced fuel duct caught fire. Of the more than eighty injured, a mayority are children. Today we woke up and saw the true magnitude of the event.
On the initial version of this post I explained that the people stealing fuel from this duct weren’t professional fuel thieves, and that they had been stealing fuel for many hours before the incident occured. The duct caught on fire by mid afternoon, and it wasn’t extinguished until the very early hours of the today.
The initial statements by Pemex and the very recently apointed Attorney General indicate that the most likely cause of the fire wasn’t tampering but some sort of reaction between the fuel’s fumes and some of the synthetic clothing of the theives.
On the other hand, images of the pierced duct before the fire surged, and shows federal police and the army standing near the area. According to the Secretary of Security and the President himself, the authorities were outnumbered and could not evacuate the civilians in time. When asked why the military and the police did not retaliate with force, he indicated that the troops had no reason to do so.
Gasoline can burn at extremely high temperatures causing thick burns and very serious nerve damage...even worse some people were soaked in gasoline. Although I won’t show the pictures released by the coroners, I assure it looks like a hellish fate.
In some cases, the thick burns froze the bodies in a Pompeii-style crust, showing their last moments crawling away from the piercing point. Those who could escape are being treated at hospitals across the country, with most of the load being handled by Pemex’s own hospital in Tula, a town 10 miles away.
I won’t back down from what I said in the past version of this post... These people were irresponsible assholes (specially those that brought their kids to the site), and there was no reason to steal the fuel given their state did not experience a shortage, nor was this diesel for work vehicles. They stole it because they wanted to and the black market is very profitable, not because they needed to.
I say this recognizing that no one deserves death or suffering, even if they were acting in dangerous ways. I am very sad, and furious, that this occured mainly because it could’ve been avoided had more police officers were available to disperse the crowd, or if the duct wasn’t pierced at all.
But a debate sparked around Mexican social media, some people saying “I’m glad they died” and some indicating that we don’t know why they were there. The mayor of the town where this ocurred indicated that the lack of opportunities could’ve been the reason why so many people were near the duct stealing the fuel. Both Hidalgo and the Municipality of Tlalhuelilpan have above average rates of poverty, with 52% of residents living under the poverty line which support his claim that these people might’ve been drawn to fuel theft because of the poverty and because of the highly publicized fuel shortage.
Many questions remain about this tragedy, and the government promised a thorough investigation, but the most probable thing is that this case will be closed as fast as possible without even considering the possibility of a fanatical activist causing the fire.
So, it’s been a couple of weeks since the fuel shortages began, now a judge finally says fuel must be resupplied, everything begins to go back to normal and this happens;
Fuel thieves pierced an important fuel duct, from Tuxpan to Tula, and it went up in flames.
WHAT THE FUCK?
Tula is in Hidalgo, the state where this exploded, which means that... Oh screw this.
Fuck any argument of stealing because they needed the fuel to work or whatever, their state has fuel. The duct literally surfaced to a distribution station ten miles away from the town. They stole it because they could... and because they’re fucking irresponsible assholes.
But they’re not professional, professional thieves don’t pierce the duct until they have a control valve above the piecing point. These are people who knew about the fuel shortage and wanted to take advantage of it, and did something stupid.
So now, someone lit it up, and killed 20 people in the process and maybe will cause a mass fire. The Feds already declared an emergency, and more than sixty people are injured... most of them were stealing fuel.
I almost have no empathy for them because they acted so stupidly.
UPDATE: Another pierced duct in the neighboring state of Queretaro went up in flames, some are saying that some sort of sabotage occured.