Monday, October 26, 2009

Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico fire extinguished

Puerto Rico Governor Luis G. Fortuno announced yesterday that the fire that began Friday morning at fuel storage tank facility in Bayamon, Puerto Rico has been extinguished.

"Today I can tell the people of Puerto Rico that the danger has passed," Fortuno said at a press conference Sunday afternoon. "The smoke cloud has diminished and all the tank fires have been extinguished.

"Air quality will continue to be monitored until 6:00 p.m. and then we will re-evaluate the need to continue monitoring," said the Governor, who added that firefighters continue their work and are cooling down the affected tanks.

Governor Fortuno also announced that President Barack Obama had declared an emergency exists in Puerto Rico, and has made necessary federal resources available for the five Puerto Rico municipalities affected. The Governor indicated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun to rapidly inspect the impact area, along with the Puerto Rico Police Department, in order to determine the agency's role in the investigation and clean-up of the zone.

The Governor said that the Puerto Rico National Guard and Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority found that none of the fuel lines from the refinery to the nearby electric plant in the Palo Seco sector of Catano have been damaged.

Governor Fortuno said the U.S. Coast Guard has lifted the security zone that was previously established in the southern part of San Juan Bay, and that all maritime operations return to normal. The Puerto Rico State Emergency Management and Disaster Administration Agency will coordinate with structural engineers in order to evaluate damages to residences and determine, along with the municipality's mayor and municipal personnel, the safety of the structures so that residents can return to their residences.

The Governor said air and water quality continues to be monitored, with today's air quality index found to be good, and water quality normal. Regarding the fuel supply, he said there is no cause for concern as there are more than 47.29 millions gallons of regular gasoline, 16.56 million gallons of premium and 13.4 million gallons of diesel.

The Governor added that tourism operations also continued normally. Operations at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport operated on a usual schedule, and five cruise ships arrived yesterday as normal, carrying more than 9,000 passengers. Hotels and other tourist services reported no cancellations.

Over the weekend, other major events in Puerto Rico also proceeded as scheduled, including the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association's Annual Golf Tournament; Professional Baseball League Practice in Caguas with players such as Carlos Delgado, Ivan Rodriguez and Javier Vazquez and a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk in San Juan.

The Governor thanked personnel from all state, federal and municipal agencies that have provided necessary support throughout this emergency, as well as the support of various pharmaceutical and other businesses that also provided assistance.

"I want to thank everyone, volunteers and local, regional and federal authorities for their quick and professional response that contained the affected area to that within immediate proximity of the storage facility," he said. "I am extremely pleased with the work done by government and federal agencies during this situation," the Governor said, "an event which had us very concerned, but that thankfully we have overcome."

He added that the principal objective throughout has been "to guarantee the security of all citizens, including that of rescue and security teams, and we have done so. We thank all the people of Puerto Rico for their solidarity and understanding during these past three days," the Governor concluded.

SOURCE Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration

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