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Oil pipeline blast injures seven people in central Mexico near capital

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A firefighter walks away from the burning pipeline ignited by an explosion on July 21, 2013 near Tonanitla, Mexico.

Seven people have been injured in central Mexico in an oil pipeline explosion, which was ignited by an attempted theft of crude oil.

Mexican authorities say five police officers and two firefighters were hurt early Sunday when they responded to the explosion and fire near the municipality of Tonanitla, located about 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the capital Mexico City.

The state oil company Pemex reported that the rescue workers had come too close to the blaze and were injured in a secondary explosion.

In addition, two patrol cars were destroyed in the fire.

About four hours after the explosion, Pemex announced that the fire in the oil pipeline was under control.

Pemex says it has seen a roughly 20-percent annual increase in thefts of crude oil, gasoline and diesel in recent years.

It also says illegal tapping is a constant and serious problem for the company.

Pemex has experienced other deadly explosions recently with the latest in January, when 37 people died at its Mexico City headquarters when an accumulation of gas in its basement ignited.

Four months earlier in September 2012, another 30 people died when a Pemex gas distribution plant in the northern city of Reynosa exploded.


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