Two unprecedented events took place here on the island this past week. The first took place last Saturday, when a drug-related shooting incident in which seven people (including one unborn child) were killed. The second incident was yesterday's explosion of an oil refinery in which an estimated 17 of the 40 tanks went up in flames. It felt really strange to see Puerto Rico make it on CNN en Español twice in one week. News of both events even attracted the attention of the international media, such as the BBC and even NOS Journaal (a Dutch news broadcaster). The island is currently going through very trying times, and both occurrences do not bode well for Puerto Rico.
Yesterday, when I woke up, I heard the distant sounds of helicopters flying. I though to myself, well, maybe something's going on in the housing projects (caserios). A short while later, I found out about the explosion. Although it had occurred in Cataño, which is just outside of San Juan, I saw the black clouds from my house. The magnitude of the explosion registered a 2.8 on the richter scale. Thousands of people had to be evacuated. Law enforcement officials are currently investigating the causes of the explosion. I can't imagine what the environmental, health and economic consequences will amount to. Luckily, no deaths have been reported.
Latest update (10/26/09): the flames were finally extinguished as of yesterday afternoon. A total of 21 out of the 40 tanks were burned.
Note: the first photo was taken yesterday at around 10:30AM and the second was taken this morning at around 6:40AM.