The collapse of the tunnel almost led to a drainage explosion in Mexico City

Mexico City (AP) —Mexico authorities say the collapse of a secret tunnel dug to steal gasoline from a government pipeline is one of the few exits to move water from closed and flood-prone Mexico City Valley said it could have triggered a series of events that almost exploded.

Near misses occurred in late March when pump plant operators reported gas smoke. Explosive-level smoke was also detected in one of the few large drains in the city, but details were not revealed until Friday.

Inspection revealed that the petrol pipeline running along the northern tip of the city was littered with at least eight illegal faucets. Javier Gonzalez, head of logistics at the state-owned Pemex oil company, said the thief was able to dip gasoline into the storm drain, apparently leaving part of the faucet open.

He said it included a sophisticated theft program that included digging an underground tunnel leading from the pipeline to private land. There, a rubber hose led from the faucet to a gas-filled staging area where a huge tank was stolen.

There was a fan in the tunnel, which was supported by wooden boards and boards. However, authorities have discovered that one such tunnel in the city limits has partially collapsed.

“There seemed to be an inward collapse in the tunnel, and these people quickly went out and left the secret faucet open,” Gonzales said.

Soldiers and investigators have discovered a total of four tunnels and warehouses and parcels with hundreds of large tanks used to store fuel.

Mexico City has no natural outlets and relies on pump plants to move rain, drain water onto slopes, drain valleys into surrounding agricultural areas and supply crops.

The pumping station on the outskirts of Ecatepec was temporarily closed, but was reopened after the smoke spread. If a leak occurs during the rainy season in Mexico starting in June, the consequences can be catastrophic. The city has centuries of flood history.

The government declared victory in the fight against fuel theft from pipelines in 2019, but the military found 3,780 illegal pipeline taps between September 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. Did.

In March, Mexico continued to lose an average of about 4,000 barrels of gasoline and diesel daily due to fuel theft, according to official reports, but President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is on a large scale supported by residents throughout the town. Fuel theft is currently “very small”. “in the case of.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come back, but the secret faucet continues,” the president said on Friday.

On January 18, 2019, at least 134 people were killed in an explosion in an illegally tapped pipeline further north of Mexico City. The explosion occurred in the town of Tlahuelilpan when residents collected gasoline leaking into the ditch from an illegal faucet.