At least 4 dead in Mexico gas storage plant explosion

Puebla, Mexico, Oct 16 (EFE).- At least four people died and six others were injured in an explosion and subsequent fire at a natural gas storage plant in the central Mexican state of Puebla, authorities said.

In a preliminary report on Tuesday evening's blast at the plant, owned by private company Gas Tomza, state government officials said 20 companies had been temporarily shuttered for safety reasons but that the blaze had already been extinguished.

A two-kilometer (1.25-mile) area surrounding the Chachapa industrial park, where the explosion occurred, was evacuated.

Authorities in the central city of Puebla set up a shelter to house 180 people, although there was no immediate indication of how many families had been forced to leave their homes.

Besides the injured, 58 people, mostly women and children, were being treated for nervous shock, according to the state government.

The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.

Federal authorities initially said a stretch of the highway linking Puebla city and Orizaba, a town in the neighboring state of Veracruz, had been entirely closed in both directions, but Puebla state officials later said one lane had already been reopened.