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14 killed, 100 injured in explosion at Mexican state oil company offices in Mexico City

Posted on: 7:42 pm, January 31, 2013, by , updated on: 08:33pm, January 31, 2013

MEXICO CITY (CNN) — An explosion rocked the offices of Mexico’s state oil company Thursday, killing at least 14 people and injuring dozens more, officials said.

At least 100 people were injured in the Mexico City blast, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told Foro TV.

Dozens of people were trapped in the building after the blast, Foro TV reported.

Osorio Chong said rescuers were searching for survivors in the basement of the office tower, which is one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers.

It was unclear what caused the explosion, which occurred in the building’s basement, Pemex spokesman Francisco Montano told Notimex.

A large plume of smoke rose near the building after the explosion, and emergency crews swarmed the scene.

“People were screaming. … You could see pieces of the wall falling to the ground,” said Joaquin Borrell Valenzuela, an attorney for the Pemex comptroller’s office, who was in a courtyard outside the building at the time of the blast.

Images from the scene showed emergency rescue teams carrying people on stretchers. Authorities said helicopters carried some of the wounded to hospitals.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed his condolences to victims’ families and said in a Twitter post Thursday night that he was heading to the office complex to supervise rescue efforts.

The 54-story office tower is nearly 700 feet tall, was built in 1979 and withstood the 8.1 magnitude earthquake that shook Mexico City in 1985, according to Emporis, a company that tracks building data worldwide.

Officials evacuated the building and operations will cease there until further notice, the company said.

Source: CNN