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Pemex Headquarters Blast Kills 14, Injures 80, Company Says

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Pemex Headquarters Explosion Leaves 14 Dead, About 100 Injured
Police officers block off the premises of the skyscraper that houses the headquarters of state-owned Mexican oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos in Mexico City on Jan. 31, 2013, following a blast inside the building. Photographer: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- An explosion at the headquarters of Petroleos Mexicanos in Mexico City has left 14 people dead and 80 injured, said the company, known as Pemex.

The blast took place at the so-called B2 building adjacent to the main Pemex office, the second-tallest tower in Mexico, the state-owned oil producer said on its Twitter account.

Mexico City-based newspaper El Universal reported on its website that 30 people remained trapped under the debris and at least 100 were injured, citing the nation’s Interior Minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong.

Earlier, Milenio TV said 3,500 people had been evacuated. Search parties were looking for more injured inside the building, Deputy Interior Minister Eduardo Sanchez said in an interview on the TV station. Rescue dogs were being used in the search.

“The priority at this moment is to attend to the injured and make sure those who work there are safe,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said on his Twitter account while also confirming the death toll. The cause of the blast is still being investigated, his office said on its Twitter page.

Under Investigation

The state oil company said on its Twitter page that the explosion damaged the lower floors of the B2 building. Pemex said specialists are investigating the cause of the blast and that any conclusion at this point is “speculation.”

The incident occurred between 3:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. local time and may have been related to maintenance deficiencies of the boilers used for power generation and air conditioning, according to El Universal, citing comments by Moises Flores, leader of one of Pemex’s unions.

At least a dozen ambulances were standing by outside the headquarters and television images showed people being pulled out of the building on stretchers.

Shattered Windows

Pemex earlier said on its Twitter account that an electrical failure had prompted a preventive evacuation of the headquarters’ complex.

According to images shown by Milenio TV, the building’s windows were shattered on several stories of one side. Security personnel surrounded the building and roped off the area outside.

Pemex’s headquarters is located at Marina Nacional Avenue, in Mexico City’s Miguel Hidalgo borough, a downtown district that includes Chapultepec Park and the National Museum of Anthropology.

To contact the reporters on this story: Carlos Manuel Rodriguez in Mexico City at carlosmr@bloomberg.net; Brendan Case in Mexico City at bcase4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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