Fuel pipeline blaze in Mexico kills at least 66

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(Mexico) – An explosion and fire in central Mexico killed at least 66 people after hundreds converged on the site of an illegal fuel-line tap to gather gasoline, officials said, during a government crackdown on fuel theft.

“The toll that we have until a few minutes ago… is 66 dead, while 76 are injured,” the Hidalgo state governor, Omar Fayad, said on Saturday.

Forensic specialists in white suits worked among the charred, blackened corpses at the scene, which was guarded by soldiers as the pungent smell of fuel hung in the air.

Fuel traffickers had punctured the pipeline, leading hundreds of people including families to swarm the area, collecting the gasoline in jerrycans and buckets when the blast occurred Friday afternoon, witnesses said.

Video taken in the aftermath showed screaming people fleeing the scene as an enormous fire lit up the night sky in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo state, north of Mexico City.