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Oct 23, 2009 8:58 AM by Associated Press

Blast rocks Gulf facility in Puerto Rico

An explosion at a Gulf gasoline facility has rocked a neighborhood outside Puerto Rico's capital, causing minor injuries and forcing evacuations as firefighters raced to prevent additional blasts.

Several columns of black smoke and flames were rising from the Caribbean Petroleum Corp., a gasoline warehouse and distribution center on San Juan's bay that owns the Gulf brand in this U.S. Caribbean territory.

A police helicopter that flew over the area confirmed that 11 of more than 30 tanks had exploded, Figueroa Sancha said. Firefighters were planning to chill the remaining tanks in an effort to keep them from exploding. Dozens of fuel trucks were also being moved from the area.

The fuel company told authorities that all of its employees who were at the plant are safe, Rodriguez said.

But some people who were driving through the area were injured when the explosion shattered their car windows.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the agency put a temporary flight restriction in place over the area because of smoke. The FBI is also on the scene.

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