By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Authorities are investigating the cause of an explosion that occurred at the armazém (warehouse) 30 in Cais do Porto region of Caju, in the city’s Zona Norte (North Zone) yesterday morning. One man was killed and another two were injured.
Initial reports suggest that the source may have been an explosion in a manhole or in an underground rain water collection tank brought on by an oil leak. The accident occurred in the part of the docks used by Triunfo Logistica.
Jorge de Mello, president of the Rio de Janeiro Companhia Docas (Docks Company), admitted that there was a strong smell of oil in the area and that the explosion could have been set off by spark from nearby welding works.
In a statement to the press the Companhia Docas said that they had installed a containment barrier in the bay as a precaution to prevent oil from escaping into the sea.
The electricity company responsible for Rio’s power supply, Light, sent technicians to the scene shortly after the accident but denied any responsibility for this latest tragedy.
The news comes as the city is still reeling from the triple building collapse in Centro on Wednesday which killed seventeen people and left five others missing.
In July of 2011 the city suffered a series of underground manhole explosions in Centro, where a number of injuries were caused. In 2010, American student Sara Nicole Lowry spent two months in the hospital with burns covering eighty percent of her body after a manhole exploded next to her in Copacabana.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.