2013 Rosario gas explosion

Coordinates: 32°56′13″S 60°39′04″W / 32.9369°S 60.6510°W / -32.9369; -60.6510

Rosario gas explosion
Rosario gas explosion - location map.png
Location map
DateAugust 6, 2013 (2013-08-06)
Time9:30 am
LocationRosario, Santa Fe, Argentina
Coordinates32°56′13″S 60°39′04″W / 32.9369°S 60.6510°W / -32.9369; -60.6510
CauseGas leak
Deaths22[2]
Non-fatal injuries60[1]

A gas explosion in a residential area of Rosario, the third-largest city in Argentina, occurred on August 6, 2013. It was caused by a large gas leak; a nearby building collapsed, and others were at high risk of structural failure. Twenty-two people died, and sixty were injured. Several organizations helped secure the area, search for survivors and aid people who lost their homes. Shortly after the explosion, the time needed for reconstruction was estimated at six months.

The provincial judiciary launched an investigation into the cause of the explosion. Primary suspects were Litoral Gas (the natural-gas provider for Rosario) and an employee who carried out maintenance work at the building that day. Several public figures sent condolences, and most of the candidates for the 2013 primary elections suspended their political campaigns.

The event

The explosion occurred at 9:30 am near the intersection of Oroño and Salta Streets in central Rosario. Initial reports confirmed eight people dead, sixty injured and fifteen missing; eight more deaths were later confirmed.[3] Searches the following day revealed twelve fatal victims, ten of whom were identified.[4] A number of people were missing; some were found dead among the debris, while others were rescued.[5] The search for survivors ended on August 13, with twenty-two people confirmed dead.[6][7] A 65-year-old woman who had been injured died on October 8.[2][8]

The explosion was caused by a gas leak in a 30-year-old building. It severely damaged a nearby nine-storey apartment building, causing it to collapse.[3] Mónica Fein, mayor of Rosario, asked residents to avoid the area because of the risk that more buildings might collapse, and to ease the work of disaster management personnel. The streets were covered with broken glass from damaged buildings.[9] Gas and electricity were immediately disconnected, and the national government sent an Argentine Federal Police task force to the scene.[3]

The natural gas supplier, Litoral Gas, immediately began sealing the distribution pipe to the area.[10] The Center for Ambulatory Medical Specialties of Rosario (Spanish: Centro de Especialidades Médicas Ambulatorias de Rosario) managed the information about the dead and injured, and tents were prepared for those left homeless.[11] Firefighters and other workers found people trapped on the upper floors of buildings and evacuated them over adjacent roofs.[12] Although the building was not destroyed by the explosion, a high risk of structural failure remained.[13]

Investigation

Neighbors reported to the press that they had smelled a gas leak several hours before the explosion and had called Litoral Gas. Company director José María González said that the company had received no such calls, and thought that callers might have dialed the 911 emergency number instead.[10] Prosecutor Camporini reported at the trial that the building had experienced several gas leaks before the explosion.[14]

The provincial judiciary launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the explosion.[11] The prosecution conducted a search and seizure at the offices of Litoral Gas to confirm the absence of customer complaints about the gas leak.[15] Judge Juan Carlos Curto ordered the arrest of Carlos Osvaldo García, an employee of the department responsible for gas service to the area.[16] He was captured during the night,[17] and his assistant Pablo Miño surrendered to police the following day.[18] According to witnesses, one employee fled in a van before the explosion, when he realized the severity of the gas leak, while another remained to try to evacuate people from the endangered area.[19] The van belonged to García,[14] who experienced an acute stress reaction during the trial.[14] Curto checked the remnants of the employee's[clarification needed] workshop to verify García's testimony.[20][21]

Prosecutor Graciela Argüelles said that, according to the investigation, Litoral Gas ignored calls for help from García, who was not properly trained to manage such a situation. The judge suggested that documents seized from Litoral Gas might prove the existence of customer reports of a gas leak.[22] Curto thought that the employees might not bear sole responsibility, and that the liability of Litoral Gas had to be investigated as well.[21]

Pablo Miño was released from prison, but Curto refused to release García, saying that Miño had extenuating circumstances which García did not.[23] Miño's job was to give García the required tools, not to do the maintenance. He was in the street, watching over the van, which was not properly parked and locked, and did not see García's work before the explosion. Curto stopped short of pronouncing Miño innocent at that early stage.[24]

As the case expanded beyond his jurisdiction, Curto recused himself from the trial and was replaced by Javier Beltramone,[25] who released García from prison.[26] Litoral Gas demanded Beltramone's recusal for expressing an opinion about the case to the press.[27] The appeal court agreed in a 2–1 vote to remove Beltramone, and the case was transferred to Patricia Bilotta.[1] García had claimed that he was following instructions received in the days before the explosion, so Bilotta summoned the technical officers of Litoral Gas to clarify that point.[28] Litoral Gas said that García had not received any instructions prior to the explosion.[29]

Litoral Gas proposed an out-of-court settlement to the relatives of the victims, offering about 1200 US dollars per square meter of collapsed building, in addition to compensation for loss of life.[30] Vice Governor Jorge Henn rejected it as immoral,[31] and most of the families also initially rejected the proposal.[32] By May 2014, however, almost half of the families had accepted the settlement.[33]

Reaction

Woman walking through a disaster area with many other people
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner at the site of the explosion

The explosion occurred shortly before the primary 2013 Argentine legislative elections on August 11. The governor of Santa Fe province, Antonio Bonfatti, asked the political parties to end their campaigns to allow mourning for the victims of the explosion.[34] The Front for Victory and Progressive, Civic and Social Front candidates suspended their campaigns,[35][36] and the national government declared two days of mourning.[37] The period of mourning was observed by all candidates in Buenos Aires and in the Buenos Aires and most other provinces, who ended their political campaigns.[38]

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who had recently returned from a diplomatic visit to the United Nations, visited the site of the explosion on August 7. She was berated by local residents;[39] some were angry because her surprise visit halted work at the site, and others thought her presence was politically motivated.[40] The president stayed briefly, visited the CEMAR and met Bonfatti.[40] Kirchner's entourage was surrounded by members of La Cámpora, who tried to prevent demonstrations against her and keep journalists and residents at bay.[41]

Weeks before the explosion, several social networking sites had scheduled a country-wide cacerolazo (a pot-banging protest demonstration), known as 8A, against Kirchner for August 8. The websites had already conducted successful cacerolazos (8N and 18A). Despite the national mourning, the 8A protest went ahead as planned, with the added slogan "No more pointless deaths".[42] Candidate Ricardo Gil Lavedra thought the cacerolazo should have been canceled, as the campaigning was,[43] but fellow candidate Rodolfo Terragno supported it.[44] It was attended by fewer people than previous ones in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country.[45] The demonstration in Rosario was not a cacerolazo, but a silent candlelight vigil attended by nearly a hundred people.[45] There was a second demonstration in Rosario on August 22, proceeding from the National Flag Memorial to the headquarters of Litoral Gas.[46][47]

Pope Francis sent a letter of condolence to Archbishop José Luis Mollaghan of Rosario, and it was read during a mass and procession for Saint Cajetan at Plaza 25 de Mayo.[48][49] Newell's Old Boys and Rosario Central, two local soccer teams and rivals in the Rosario derby, organized a charity match for the victims at the Gabino Sosa stadium,[50] and Rosario-born Lionel Messi provided support through the "Leo Messi" charity.[51] The charity match collected 120,000 pesos.[52] Musicians Fito Páez,[53] Vicentico, Babasónicos, Las Pelotas, Chaqueño Palavecino, Ciro Pertusi, Lisandro Aristimuño, Pablo Dacal and Coki de Bernardis performed concerts in several Argentine cities to raise money for the victims.[54][55]

Reconstruction

Bonfatti announced that Santa Fe province would provide financial help to the victims of the explosion. Since most houses in the vicinity were damaged, affected families would receive a subsidy of $20,000 to rent homes during reconstruction. They would receive $50,000 in credit to buy furniture and appliances, payable in 60 months with five percent interest.[56][57] Rosario's real estate firms prepared a list of houses for rent without charging victims their regular fee.[58] Some of the affected buildings may have had cheap insurances which would not cover the risk of an explosion.[59] Some cars trapped in an underground parking lot could not be retrieved.[60]

When the search for survivors ended, authorities closed Salta Street. Engineers began checking the buildings at ground zero, trying to restore the original layout of the street and demolishing unstable structures.[61] Secretary of Public Works Omar Saab said that the two remaining buildings were beyond repair and had to be demolished.[62] As a sign of respect, the demolition would not be carried out with explosives.[63] Secretary of Housing Gustavo Leone estimated that the work would take nearly six months.[64][65] People were allowed to enter their destroyed houses in small groups at a time, starting on August 9.[66] Nearby streets began to be reopened on August 13.[67]

The CGT union signed a deal with the association of factories of Rosario and the government of Rosario to make sure that all the victims of the explosions would keep their jobs.[68]

References

  1. ^ a b José Bordón (October 10, 2013). "Separan al juez que estaba a cargo de la investigación de la explosión en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  2. ^ a b "Falleció otra de las personas heridas por la explosión de un edificio de Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  3. ^ a b c "Fuerte explosión en un edificio de Rosario: asciende a 12 el número de muertos y hay al menos 60 heridos" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  4. ^ "Discrepancias y dudas en torno a la cantidad de muertos que dejó la explosión del edificio en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 7, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  5. ^ Valeria Musse (August 8, 2013). "A más de 40 horas de la explosión, buscan a 11 desaparecidos en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  6. ^ José Bordón (August 13, 2013). "Hallan tres cuerpos más y asciende a 21 el número de víctimas en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved September 11, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  7. ^ "Encontraron dos cuerpos más y son 21 los muertos por la explosión" (in Spanish). Clarín. August 12, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  8. ^ Mauro Aguilar (October 9, 2013). "Tragedia de Rosario: son 22 los muertos por la explosión" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 25, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  9. ^ "'Las calles están repletas de vidrio', dijo una vecina del edificio" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  10. ^ a b "Litoral Gas dice que no tuvieron reclamos en el call center" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  11. ^ a b "La Justicia de Santa Fe ya investiga las causas de la explosión" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  12. ^ "El angustiante rescate de los afectados por la explosión en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  13. ^ Juan R. Mascardi (August 6, 2013). "Un escape de gas, la causa del estallido ocurrido en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved October 15, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  14. ^ a b c José Bordón (October 8, 2013). "El gasista fue imputado por estrago culposo y está muy comprometido" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  15. ^ "La Fiscalía allanó las oficinas de Litoral Gas en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  16. ^ "Ordenan la detención del gasista que trabajaba en el edificio" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  17. ^ "Detuvieron al gasista que trabajaba en el edificio que explotó" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  18. ^ "Detuvieron a dos gasistas y allanaron Litoral Gas" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 7, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  19. ^ "Uno de los detenidos habría huido cuando vio la magnitud del escape de gas" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 7, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  20. ^ "Un juez recorrió el edificio de la explosión para 'corroborar' los dichos del gasista" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 8, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  21. ^ a b Lucas Aranda (August 9, 2013). "Siguen los cruces: para el juez, la empresa 'es un actor principal'" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  22. ^ José Bordón (August 9, 2013). "Litoral Gas, más comprometida por la explosión en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  23. ^ "Explosión en Rosario: niegan la excarcelación del gasista y liberaron al ayudante" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 9, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  24. ^ José Bordón (August 10, 2013). "El gasista seguirá detenido y citan a declarar a los directivos de la empresa Litoral Gas" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  25. ^ "La tragedia de Rosario se quedó sin juez" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 16, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  26. ^ José Bordón (August 17, 2013). "Explosión en Rosario: el juez ordenó la liberación del gasista" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  27. ^ Andrés Actis (October 10, 2013). "Apartan al juez que investigaba la tragedia de Rosario" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  28. ^ "Salta 2141: Quieren establecer si el gasista notificó a Litoral Gas" (in Spanish). La Capital. November 26, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  29. ^ "Litoral Gas dijo que el gasista no pidió permiso para proceder" (in Spanish). La Capital. November 27, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  30. ^ "Ahora Litoral Gas les propone un arreglo económico a las víctimas de Salta 2141" (in Spanish). La Capital. November 29, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  31. ^ "El vicegobernador Henn aseguró que 'lo de Litoral Gas es inmoral e inescrupuloso'" (in Spanish). La Capital. November 30, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  32. ^ "Familiares de víctimas de Salta 2141 rechazan un ofrecimiento económico de Litoral Gas" (in Spanish). La Capital. November 28, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  33. ^ Guillermo Zysman (May 28, 2014). "Casi la mitad de los afectados por la explosión en Salta 2141 arregló con Litoral Gas" (in Spanish). La Capital. Retrieved June 10, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  34. ^ "El gobernador de Santa Fe pidió suspender la campaña electoral" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  35. ^ "El Frente para la Victoria dio por terminada su campaña electoral en Santa Fe por la trágica explosión" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  36. ^ "La tragedia dejó en suspenso la campaña" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 7, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  37. ^ "El Gobierno declaró duelo de dos días por la explosión de Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 7, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  38. ^ "Sin actos, el final de la campaña quedó teñido por la tragedia de Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 8, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  39. ^ Diego Yañez Martínez (August 7, 2013). "Cristina Kirchner visitó la zona de la explosión en Rosario y recibió insultos de los vecinos" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  40. ^ a b Valeria Musse (August 8, 2013). "Insultos y abucheos a Cristina cuando visitó el lugar de la tragedia" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  41. ^ Diego Yañez Martínez (August 8, 2013). "Cruces entre militantes de La Cámpora y vecinos por la llegada de Cristina Kirchner a Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  42. ^ Mariano Obarrio (August 8, 2013). "El 8-A sigue en pie, con la consigna 'no más muertes inútiles'" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  43. ^ "Ricardo Gil Lavedra: 'Hoy no debería hacerse la protesta del 8A'" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 8, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  44. ^ DyN (August 8, 2013). "Rodolfo Terragno y Ricardo Gil Lavedra respaldaron el cacerolazo" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  45. ^ a b Aurelio Tomás (August 9, 2013). "Con una protesta menos masiva, el 8-A movilizó a los caceroleros más duros" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  46. ^ "Hoy hacen una marcha del silencio" (in Spanish). Clarín. August 22, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  47. ^ "La mamá de Laguia participará de la marcha 'para pedir justicia'" (in Spanish). La Capital. August 20, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  48. ^ "El mensaje del papa Francisco por la trágica explosión en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 7, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  49. ^ Emily Vexler (August 7, 2013). "La tragedia de Rosario, presente en San Cayetano" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  50. ^ "Newell's y Central, codo a codo: Rosario se unió para ayudar a las víctimas de la explosión" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  51. ^ "Lionel Messi pone su Fundación a disposición de las víctimas de la explosión de Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  52. ^ "Cerca de 120 mil pesos se recaudaron con el partido solidario en el Gabino Sosa" (in Spanish). La Capital. August 19, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  53. ^ "Fito Páez anunció una gira por el país en total beneficio para los damnificados de Rosario" (in Spanish). La Capital. August 15, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  54. ^ "Fito Páez y otros artistas saldrán de gira para recaudar fondos por la explosión en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 15, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  55. ^ "Música y fútbol para ayudar a las víctimas" (in Spanish). Clarín. August 19, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  56. ^ "El gobernador de Santa Fe, Antonio Bonfatti, anunció subsidios: 'El Estado va a estar presente'" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 8, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  57. ^ Andres Actis (August 9, 2013). "Santa Fe se hará cargo de reparar todas las casas" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  58. ^ "Arman un padrón de viviendas para los afectados por la explosión en Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 13, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  59. ^ Martín Grosz (August 9, 2013). "Advierten que muchos edificios no tienen un seguro adecuado" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  60. ^ Actis, Andrés (August 22, 2013). "Tragedia de Rosario: no podrán recuperar los autos que quedaron bajo los escombros" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  61. ^ "Rosario: tras el rescate de las víctimas, comienza el trabajo de reconstrucción de la calle Salta" (in Spanish). La Nación. August 13, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  62. ^ José Bordón (August 13, 2013). "'Hay que demoler los dos edificios que quedan lo antes posible', dijo un funcionario del municipio de Rosario" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  63. ^ Mauro Aguilar (August 15, 2013). "No usarán explosivos para demoler los edificios que quedaron en pie" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  64. ^ José Bordon (August 14, 2013). "Rosario: demandará seis meses reconstruir la calle afectada por la explosión" (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved November 1, 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  65. ^ "La reconstrucción llevará al menos seis meses" (in Spanish). Clarín. August 14, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  66. ^ Carlos Carrion (August 9, 2013). "Algunos volvieron a sus casas: 'Es como si hubiese pasado un tornado'" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved January 30, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  67. ^ "Se habilitó hoy el carril de Oroño hacia el sur, y el tránsito por Salta desde Alvear" (in Spanish). La Capital. August 13, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  68. ^ "Acuerdo para resguardar la fuente laboral de los damnificados por la tragedia" (in Spanish). La Capital. August 19, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)

External links