1992 Guadalajara explosions

A series of ten explosions took place on April 22, 1992, in the downtown district of Analco Colonia Atlas in Guadalajara city, Jalisco state, Mexico. Numerous gasoline explosions in the sewer system and fires over four hours destroyed 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) of streets.[1] Gante Street was the most damaged. By the accounting of Lloyd’s of London, the reported number of people killed was about 252 people although many estimate that the catastrophe actually caused at least 1,000 deaths.[2] About 500 to 600 people were missing,[2] nearly 500 were injured and 15,000 were left homeless. The estimated monetary damage ranges between $300 million and $3 billion. The affected areas can be recognized by the more modern architecture in the areas that were destroyed.[3]

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1992 Guadalajara explosions

Location of Guadalajara
Date April 22, 1992
Time 10:05 – 11:16 (UTC-6)
Location Analco, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Also known as Guadalajara gas explosion
Deaths 206
Non-fatal injuries 500+
Property damage Thousands of homes affected
Convictions 4 Pemex officials charged for negligence

Four days before the explosion, residents started complaining of a strong gas-like smell coming from the sewers which became progressively more pungent over the course of those days. They were experiencing symptoms such as stinging in their eyes and throats; and nausea.[4] Some residents even found gasoline coming out of their water pipes. City workers were dispatched to check the sewers and found dangerously high levels of gasoline fumes. However, the city mayor did not feel it was necessary to evacuate the city because he felt that there was no risk of an explosion.[5]

. . . 1992 Guadalajara explosions . . .

Before the explosions, on April 19, Gante Street residents reported a strong stench of gasoline and plumes of white smoke coming out from the sewers to the City of Guadalajara. The next day, workers of the City Council and Civil Protection commenced two days of investigations in Gante Street; they found high levels of gasoline among other hydrocarbons, but announced it was not necessary to evacuate the area. At 10am on April 22, manhole covers in the street began to bounce and columns of white smoke started coming out of them.

At 10:05 on April 22, the first two explosions were recorded, the first on the corner of Calzada Independencia and Aldama Street, and the second at the intersection of Gante and 20 De Noviembre. A minute later the first call was received on the 060 Emergency Line and was forwarded to automatic voice messenger. A third explosion at 10:08 resulted in a bus, belonging to the Tuts Company, being projected through the air on the corner of Gante and Nicolas Bravo. Four minutes later another explosion was registered in Gonzalez Gallo Avenue. At 10:15 factory workers along Gonzalez Gallo Avenue began to evacuate, just before rescue teams and volunteers began to arrive in areas affected by the explosions. At 10:23 the fifth explosion occurred, at the intersection of Gante and Calzada del Ejercito. At 10:29 evacuations began in the Mexicaltzingo neighborhood, two minutes before the sixth explosion was recorded at the intersection of 5 De Febrero and Rio Bravo.

At 10:43 the seventh explosion occurred, at the corner of Ghent Street and Silverio Garcia. Just after more rescue teams arrived in the affected areas, the eighth explosion occurred at 11:02, at the intersection of Rio Nilo Avenue and the Rio Grande. After this explosion the neighborhoods of Atlas, Alamo Industrial, El Rosario, Quinta Velarde and Fraccionamiento Revolución; and the center of the municipality of Tlaquepaque; were evacuated. The last two explosions were at 11:16, one at the intersection of Rio Alamos and Rio Pecos, and the other at González Gallo and Rio Suchiate. In the afternoon, the fear of further tragedies made people across the Guadalajara Metro Area uncover manholes for any remaining gases to escape. Residents of neighborhoods such as Zona Industrial, 18 De marzo, Fresno, 8 De Julio, Ferrocarril, La Nogalera, Morelos, Echeverria, Polanco, 5 de mayo and Miravalle were told to be aware of any unusual events.

After the explosions, there was great panic on April 25 among residents of the neighborhoods 5 De Mayo, el Dean, Echeverría and Polanco; firefighters asked people to avoid lighting any flames, due to a strong smell of gas. It was later confirmed to be a leak in a Pemex pipe.

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