October 23, 2018 / 4:58 PM / 23 days ago

REFILED-Fire halts operations at Venezuela PDVSA fuel center; one person hurt

(Replaces ‘the’ with ‘a’ in first paragraph.)

Oct 23 (Reuters) - A fire in the perimeter of a state-run PDVSA plant halted operations at a large fuel distribution center that serves Venezuela’s capital on Tuesday and left one person injured, according to firefighters and a source at the oil company.

“The Guarenas station is extinguishing a fire produced by a gasoline leak... which left an adult person injured,” said firefighters in Venezuela’s central Miranda state in a post on Twitter.

PDVSA’s facilities for producing, refining, transporting and shipping oil often experience outages due to a lack of spare parts and delayed maintenance. The company’s main port of Jose had been working partially since August following the closure of one of its docks due to a tanker collision.

Witnesses and local media reports said the fire started when fuel leaked from one of the pipelines that feed PDVSA’s Guatire distribution center. A PDVSA source said the cause of the incident has not yet been confirmed.

“Our security crew is investigating. Operations were halted and the plant was evacuated for safety reasons,” the source said.

The mayor of the Zamora municipality, Hugo Martinez, said on Twitter there was no explosion but a leak had ended up in a nearby river, causing several small fires.

Photos and video footage of the incident showed several smoke columns along the fuel distribution station’s perimeter.

PDVSA’s Guatire facility receives fuel via pipelines from Venezuela’s refineries to load the trucks that distribute gasoline and diesel to hundreds of gas stations in Caracas. (Reporting by Deisy Buitrago and Marianna Parraga; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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