Blaze in central Mexico blamed on fuel theft from pipeline

Blaze in central Mexico blamed on fuel theft from pipeline 

This fire resulted from damage done by thieves to a fuel pipeline in the central Mexican town of Acajete on Wednesday, July 18. EFE-EPA/Hilda Rios

Mexico City, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- A fire broke out early Wednesday after fuel thieves tapped into a pipeline in the central state of Puebla, state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said.

Nobody was hurt in the incident near the community of San Jeronimo Ocotitlan, Pemex said in a statement, adding that the flames are roughly 300m (944ft) away from the nearest populated area.

Pemex employees who responded to the emergency found some 30 gas cylinders at the scene «that were presumably being filled» by the criminals who targeted the pipeline, according to the statement.

The Cactus-Guadalajara conduit carries liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Firefighters and Pemex crews were still working to extinguish the flames, the company said.

Stealing fuel from Pemex pipelines and re-selling it on the black market has become a major criminal enterprise in the Triangulo Rojo (Red Triangle) region of Puebla.

Theft of fuel from pipelines costs Mexico some $5 billion a year, Pemex says.