About 3,000 people were evacuated in central
Mexico on Friday after suspected thieves punctured a pipeline and
released a massive cloud of gas over the area, officials said.
"To guarantee the security of the inhabitants of the area, we have evacuated at least 3,000 people and we are moving them to a temporary hostel," tweeted Alfredo Del Mazo, governor of Mexico, one of the country's 32 states.
The thieves were believed to have wanted to steal fuel or gas from the Cactus-Guadalajara pipeline, the country's main gas transport pipeline which also carries fuel. The leak released gas that gushed out with a great speed and created a white cloud above the town of Nextalpan, about 40 kilometres north of Mexico City.
"I heard [sirens] ... I opened the window and ... saw that some of my neighbours had gone out," one of the evacuated residents, Rocio Velazquez, told Milenio Television.
"There was a strong smell of gas. I made my daughters get up and we came here in pyjamas," she said at the temporary lodgings where she was taken.
More than 500 police, firefighters, soldiers and emergency staff were using water to disperse the gas which started dissipating. No injuries were reported. Pipelines are often punctured in Mexico, where criminal gangs sell fuel and gas. In January, an explosion attributed to thieves claimed 135 lives in the state of Hidalgo.
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