The Caribbean Petroleum Corporation Fire Has Devastating Impact on Animal Life

toxic smoke

An explosion at a fuel storage site in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, sent earthquake-force (of 2.8 magnitude) shock waves across the capital on October 23, 2009, and set 21 of the facility’s 40 storage tanks on fire, sending up a tower of inky smoke that forced airliners to alter flight paths. Two workers were injured in the incident. Authorities evacuated hundreds from the area, and firefighters battled blazes for two days, finally extinguishing the fire on October 25.


Gerardo E. Alvarado León (El Nuevo Día) reports that the Caribbean Petroleum Corporation (CAPEC) fire has been disastrous to the ecological balance of the region. Not only did the fire displace hundreds of people, affect bodies of water, and fill the air with toxic smoke, but it also destroyed the habitat of hundreds of animals. Among the animals that died, many were from endangered species. The fire was devastating for migrating ducks, many types of birds, iguanas, native turtles, rats, frogs, fish, Puerto Rican boas, and coquís (tiny, free-toed frog endemic to Puerto Rico). Of these, the boa and the coquí are endangered species.

For full article (in Spanish), see For more on the fire (in English), see

For a satellite view of the smoke plume, see

Photo by Dennis Rivera from

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