MEXICO CITY – A massive fire broke out at a partially flooded refinery in southern Mexico on Wednesday, injuring nine people and forcing the evacuation of over 500 people from homes around the plant.
The state-owned oil company Pemex said none of the injuries were life-threatening and all nine had been treated and released.
Television and social media footage showed a huge column of flames and thick black smoke pouring from one part of the refinery complex.
The refinery's operations had been suspended Tuesday because of heavy rains from former Tropical Storm Calvin, which had partly flooded some parts of the plant. The company said the fire broke out after the floodwaters caused waste containment ponds to overflow, spreading oil around the plant.
Pemex said in a statement that the spilled oil "reached a point of ignition as a result of the flooding, sparking a fire."
It said company employees were inside the facility, battling the fire.
The facility is located in Salina Cruz in the southern state of Oaxaca.
The Oaxaca state civil defense office said 550 people were being housed at shelters set up for residents from neighborhoods near the refinery.