The Pope prays for victims of The blaze at Cuban fuel depot

In a telegram, Pope Francis conveys his closeness and prays for those affected by a huge fire, caused by lightning strikes on the Matanzas Super-tanker Base in Cuba.

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

Pope Francis has expressed his closeness to the Cuban people and the loved ones of those affected by the massive oil-fed fire at Cuba’s Super-tanker port in Matanzas over the weekend.

The blaze began on Friday night after lightning struck a fuel storage tank at a depot in Matanzas. The fire spread to a second storage tank on Saturday morning, triggering further explosions.  

As of Sunday, Cuba appeared to have made some progress in bringing the fire under control, with the help of special teams sent by other countries.

According to news reports, at least one person died, 17 firefighters are missing and 121 people have been hurt in the fire.

Pope Francis’s telegram

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, conveyed the Pope’s sentiments in a telegram on Monday, addressed to the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Cuba, Bishop Emilio Aranguren Echeverría of Holguín.

The Holy Father said he is closely following the news about the unfortunate accident that caused a fire and several explosions at the Matanzas Super-tanker base, with at least one death and many wounded and missing.

He also assured the people of Cuba and the families of those affected of his spiritual closeness, and prayed to the Lord “to grant them strength in this moment of pain to sustain the work of extinguishing the fire and the search” for the missing.

“With these sentiments,” read the telegram, the Pope “imparts to them a heartfelt comforting apostolic blessing, as a pledge of hope in the risen Christ.”