MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities in southern Mexico said Wednesday that seven people were injured by a fire that broke out as they gathered fuel left near an illegal pipeline tap.
The civil defense office in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco reported the injuries on its website. Photos from the scene showed at least two men with severe burns.
The state-owned Pemex oil company said in a statement that the fire occurred in a pool of fuel left by thieves after they drilled a tap into a pipeline.
The company had sealed the tap, but some fuel had collected near the end of the thieves' hose, and local residents were apparently trying to collect it. The pipeline itself was not affected by the fire.
Illegal pipeline taps in Mexico have risen by about 55 percent this year, reaching almost 500 per month.
In March, at least 20 people died In Tabasco when they tried to take gasoline from a wrecked gasoline tanker.