26 dead in Mexico pipeline fire near Texas border

Reynosa explosion

Credit: Alfredo Araujo / Twitter

A fireball can be seen rising from the scene of the explosion south of Reynosa, Mexico.

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Associated Press

Posted on September 18, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 18 at 8:31 PM

Refinery explosion

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — A big fire erupted at a natural gas pipeline distribution center near Mexico's border with the United States on Tuesday, and 26 people were reported killed.

Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, initially reported 10 deaths at the facility near the city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas. Later, the death toll was raised to 26, according to the company's Twitter account.

Pemex said in a statement that the fire had been extinguished and the pipeline shut off. The pipeline carries natural gas from wells in the Burgos basin.

The company said through its Twitter account that four of those killed were Pemex employees and the rest were employed by contractors. It said officials were still investigating to determine the cause of the fire.

Pipelines carrying gasoline and diesel fuel in Mexico are frequently tapped by thieves looking to steal oil products.

Several oil spills and explosions have been blamed on illegal taps. But thieves seldom target gas pipelines.

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