January 21, 2019 / 2:50 AM / a month ago

Mexico gasoline pipeline leak detected hours before fatal blast

Alicia Moreno, wife of late Cesar Jimenez Brito, 40, who died during the explosion of a fuel pipeline ruptured by oil thieves, holds hands with her daughter during his funeral service at the cemetery in the municipality of Tlahuelilpan, state of Hidalgo, Mexico January 20, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s state oil firm, Pemex, did not close the valve at a leaking gasoline pipeline when first notified because it was not initially thought to be an “important” leak, Mexico’s security minister said on Sunday.

The pipeline in central Mexico exploded on Friday, leaving 85 people dead who were collecting gasoline at the leak, officials said. Security Minister Alfonso Durazo told a news conference that Mexico’s military detected the leak about four hours before Pemex closed the valve.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Peter Cooney

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