"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

23-02-2018, 23:51
"I just went to the store, and the next for an instant the whole street exploded. Cars were on the roofs of houses ", - talked about this tragedy one of the miracle surviving locals.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

April 22, 1992 as a result of a series of powerful explosions in the sewer over 1000 buildings were destroyed in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, 250 people died, more than a thousand were injured, and 15 thousand were left without shelter

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

Guadalajara, both now and in the early 1990s, was typical of Mexico is a city of contrasts. In the second largest city by the number of residents countries entangled in barbed wire respectable areas alternated with slums, and business skyscrapers coexist with poverty and devastation. AT April 1992, the city was to endure a major catastrophe in its history. A catastrophe that could have been avoided.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

April 18 residents of the area of ​​Analco in the west of the city - the old, closely built-up and densely populated neighborhoods, where mostly lived Workers from the vast industrial zone surrounding them, - felt unaccustomed smell.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

In principle, there were not too many pleasant smells. surprise, but in this case, the citizens felt something new. Of Guadalajara's bowels began to smell gas and gasoline.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

Therefore, local emergency services immediately began receiving complaints. concerned residents. During this and the next days in the area visited several teams of specialists at once, they really recorded a high content of gas in underground utilities, however, responsible officials continued to assure the inhabitants of the area that the situation is kept under control. Judging by the following events no work to eliminate a possible accident or at least to clarify the causes of the smell, which is atypical for sewage, did not have time or did not wanted to hold.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

At 10 am on April 22 pillars of white smoke began to erupt from the sewers. Five minutes later, the first two explosions occurred, followed by the third, fourth, manholes exploded one after another. In the area began panic: no one understood what was happening and where to wait for the next misfortune. The emergency services could not reach the place of the tragedy, because the streets of the district just ceased to exist, turning into huge trench

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

“I heard a strong clap and ran out into the street. Cars lay on the roofs of houses, there were clouds of dust around, people were crying hysterically. I I have never seen anything like it, ”one of locals.
Another woman who lost her sister during the tragedy, said: “She was going to the store when the whole street exploded. We are several days they smelled gas, and the authorities only blocked the street for cars, but did not evacuate. "

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

Within an hour after a series of 10 explosions, proletarian quarters Guadalajara began to resemble the landscape after the bombing. Houses turned into a pile of ruins, cars and buses fell into formed long funnels. In total, 8 were destroyed kilometers of streets Analko. The chain reaction path runs strictly under sewer of the city.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

In the first hours after a catastrophic accident, the authorities did not imagined what happened: the sewer, given its contents (in Guadalajara merged rainwater and industrial waste there) just shouldn't, couldn't blow up. The role of the scapegoat tried to entrust a small local enterprise La Central - a factory that produced vegetable oil. In the process its extraction was used hexane - hydrocarbon, in significant amount of gasoline. Its leaking into the city communication would explain the smell of the residents of the area.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

In the end, however, the honest name of La Central was saved. Chemical specialists have found that for explosions of similar power it would be necessary to detonate hundreds of thousands of liters of hexane. Capacity the factory’s storage capacity was only 60,000 liters, and virtually all was still in place in tanks. Further investigation led to extremely unpleasant conclusions for the authorities.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

One of the 40 enterprises in the industrial zone, adjacent to the destroyed quarters, was a large state-owned refinery petroleum monopoly pemex. This industrial giant has provided almost 40% of the revenue part of the entire budget of a huge country, in fact turned into a "state in a state." Like any monopoly, overwhelmed by the absence of competitors with a sense of self-worth, having access to big money and actually existing in conditions impunity, the company is mired in corruption and total disregard for interests of the "little man."

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

His representatives, naturally, denied any involvement in However, the incident, however, Pemex was previously involved in a variety of man-made accidents leading to loss of life: from oil tank explosions (1984, a suburb of Mexico City, 500 victims) before oil leaks during its production in Gulf of Mexico (1979).

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

During the investigation it turned out that right under the affected area with The sewer line was in contact with the Pemex product pipeline. He was built in 1973 to deliver refined petroleum products from Guadalajara refinery to the city of Salamanca. At the point of contact galvanized sewer pipe reacted with steel pipe product pipeline, the latter has been corroded, and through the resulting hole diameter of only 1 centimeter fuel began to flow into surrounding soil, and then penetrate the sewer.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

Another factor that caused the tragedy was, oddly enough, construction in Guadalajara metro. His route just crossed sewer, and the authorities have not found anything better, how to make the sewer U-shaped tie-in, which allowed her to go around the subway below. Special pumps pumped through this bend target collector waste, but they were not able to do the same with petroleum vapor that appeared there.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

In the end, this led to the formation of underground on the highway sewage of a kind of gas pockets. Accumulated pressure and a random spark was enough to destroy several urban quarters. The damage from the disaster was according to various estimates from several hundreds of millions to a billion dollars.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

Virtually any man-made accident, especially large-scale, impossible without a combination of a number of factors of varying degrees probabilities. The human error is usually the deciding one. The events of 24 years ago in Guadalajara were the result of immediately recruiting mistakes of completely different people: oilmen, unfamiliar with basic chemistry and placed their pipe close to urban communications. Municipal authorities who allowed this and refused to evacuate population when the smell of unidentified origin. Finally, emergency workers themselves who, over the course of four days, could not detect the relationship between the passing pipeline oil refinery and a source of unusual flavor.

"Entire streets disappeared": how the sewage blew up the city

The result of this negligence, incompetence, disorder, laziness, finally criminal indifference became 252 human lives ending with explosion, under shards of glass, in a bus that fell into a trench, under fragments of hundreds of buildings. The score of the broken fate goes to tens of thousands. Such is the price of one small hole with a diameter of 1 centimeter.

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