14ymedio, Havana, 30 November 2022 — A fire that occurred on Tuesday afternoon consumed the load of a wagon with tobacco on a train from Pinar del Río, the province that produces the best cigars in the world. The authorities confirmed that the fire was extinguished by the Specialized Fire Forces, but they have not offered data, for the moment, on the possible causes or how much the losses amounted to.
The incident occurred in the municipality of Los Palacios, in Pinar del Río. The Accidents and Trucks Facebook group reported that the train was heading to Havana loaded with tobacco, while the local radio station Radio Guamá added that to control the incident, the help of the neighbors was required to support the firemen.
In videos shared on social networks, firefighters are seen putting out the fire from the roof of the wagon. The photographs of the local station also show the damage to the tobacco bales that were removed from the unit before the fire consumed them.
Pinar del Río was the province most devastated by the passage of Hurricane Ian, where it was exactly the necessary infrastructure for tobacco cultivation that was greatly affected. According to the local press, there was damage to 14,000 of the 33,000 tons of leaves stored.
The Empresa de Transporte Agropecuario, a division of Tabacuba, indicated at the beginning of November that it was an urgent task to safeguard some 6,000 tons of raw tobacco before it spoiled, for which it was planned to transfer most of it by train to the provinces of Sancti Spíritus, Matanzas, Villa Clara and Cienfuegos.
Emilio Triana Ordaz, general director of the Agricultural Transport Company, explained to the Guerrillero provincial newspaper that each train could store up to 300 tons, with a loading time of four days. According to estimates by the authorities, these tasks would take a month if there were no delays.
The tobacco sector is facing one of its worst moments. In addition to the losses due to the hurricane, the item came from one of its lowest production cycles due to the lack of basic supplies, logistical problems and machinery breakdowns.
At the end of last October, tobacco planting began in some 6,300 hectares of Pinar del Río , a product destined for export. This process will last until January 31, 2023. During these three months, the work will be concentrated in the municipalities of San Juan y Martínez, San Luis, Pinar del Río and Consolación del Sur, considered the “tobacco massif” of the province that produces half of the highest quality tobacco leaf on the Island.
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.