Hundreds evacuated following gas explosion outside Mexican capital

Hundreds evacuated following gas explosion outside Mexican capital
Seven people were injured and hundreds of residents evacuated following a gas explosion on the outskirts of Mexico City. The blast was caused by thieves trying to tap into a natural gas pipeline, local media reported.

Between 700 and 800 people within a one-kilometer radius of the blast were evacuated as officials cordoned off the area.

Local media reported that seven people were injured, though a spokesman for the civil protection authorities was unable to confirm this figure.

The flames from the fire reached about 40 meters high and scorched over 200 meters of grassland, Prensa Latina news agency said. A nearby railway was closed to traffic.

Authorities later reported that the leak no longer posed a risk to local residents. The pipeline's operator, Pemex, also said on Twitter that the blaze had been brought under control, adding that it was caused by thieves stealing the gas.

The company added that the valves to the gas pipeline were closed and that most of those evacuated were being allowed to return home.

Pemex is the state-owned oil company of the Central American nation and has assets worth US$415 billion.