A Fire Delays Repairs at the Santa Cruz Del Norte Thermoelectric Plant in Mayabeque

The Ernesto Guevara thermoelectric plant in Santa Cruz del Norte, Mayabeque, in an archive image. (Cuba/Twitter Presidency)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 April 2023 — The misfortunes in the Cuban thermoelectric plants seem to have no end. This Monday, a fire occurred in unit 3 of the Ernesto Guevara Power Plant in Santa Cruz del Norte, Mayabeque, with no casualties or injuries being reported. This block is currently under maintenance, so it will delay even more the synchronization with the National Electricity System.

According to official sources, the “small-range” fire was promptly controlled and took place at noon “in a section of the cable tunnels” of the unit. The action of search-and-rescue commandos together with firefighters “prevented the spread of fire to other areas of the thermoelectric plant.”

“So far, the damage caused is being evaluated,” Cubadebate published.

This fire at the Santa Cruz del Norte Power Plant joins a list of accidents that have evidenced the decline of the Cuban Electricity System, which has reported constant and prolonged blackouts for more than two years. Some popular protests against the regime have been motivated by power outages that lasted more than 12 hours.

On April 7, the chimney of the Antonio Guiteras Thermoelectric Plant, in the province of Matanzas, suffered the collapse of part of its structure leaving four men trapped, and only two could be rescued alive. On the same day of the accident, Alexis Bernardo Labrada, 47, and a day later Lázaro Frank Montero Pita, 57, were  found dead.

A large fire in unit 2 of the Lidio Ramón Pérez Thermoelectric Power Plant in Felton, in the Holguin municipality of Mayarí, occurred in the middle of last year, without loss of life. The block had been under maintenance for several weeks.

Four months earlier, an explosion at the Máximo Gómez Báez de Mariel thermoelectric plant, in Artemisa, caused a fire in which there were no casualties or injuries. The explosion occurred in the steam turbine of unit 7 of the plant and led to an automatic release  in the system a few minutes later, according to the official press.

In the same power plant, another accident on October 4, 2021 left two seriously injured. The state press did not give details of how it  occurred, but Alejandro Canosa Insua, head of the team of operators, and Osmany Cabrera Deybe, operator on duty, were affected with third-degree burns on 78% and 44% of their bodies, respectively.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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