CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — An explosion rocked the Amuay refinery in Venezuela early Saturday, killing at least seven people and injuring dozens, an official said.
A ball of fire rose over the refinery in video posted on the Internet by people who were nearby at the time.
Falcon state Gov. Stella Lugo gave the initial death toll on state television, saying at least 48 people were injured.
Firefighters and National Guard troops were securing the area after the blast at the refinery, located on the Paraguana Peninsula in western Venezuela, she said.
The blast occurred after 1 a.m. when a gas leak created a cloud that ignited, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said. Some nearby houses were damaged by the blast, he said.
"What we need to do is maintain calm," Ramirez said on state television.
Vice President Elias Jaua said on his Twitter account that the blast caused serious damage.
"There are wounded people," Jaua said in one message. "We're deploying air ambulances."
The military was also deployed to the area, and the defense minister was traveling to the refinery along with Ramirez and other top officials, Jaua said.
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