"Fuel Firm Flouted Safety Rules"

"BAYAMON, Puerto Rico --  The fuel company whose tank farm exploded in a massive fire last month has been cited for sweeping environmental violations dating back 10 years, costing $1.3 million in penalties and fines for leaking hazardous waste in the water, air and soil, a nonprofit investigative news organization has reported.

 Yet local and federal government agencies have allowed the company to run for nearly a decade without safety inspections or an emergency community disaster plan, in violation of federal law, Inter-American University School of Law's Center for Investigative Reporting found.

Caribbean Petroleum Company (CAPECO) is a fuel company that distributes diesel and gasoline products to over 200 gas stations throughout the island under the Gulf brand. The company operates the only privately-owned loading dock facility in Puerto Rico.

Its facility at the Luchetti Industrial Park in Bayamón was the site of an explosion last month that produced a toxic fire that took firefighters several days to extinguish and caused fuel leaks into neighboring waterways."

McNelly Torres and Omaya Sosa Pascual report for the Miami Herald November 11, 2009.

Source: Miami Herald, 11/13/2009