Local November 2, 2020 | 4:08 pm

Coopegas owners arrested, whose bottling plant exploded and killed 11 people

  • Prosecutor’s Office says they determined negligence, human and mechanical failure because the three safety valves that would have prevented the fire did not respond.


Several of the executives of the Coopegas liquefied petroleum gas plant were arrested on Monday, whom the Public Ministry accuses of causing the death of 11 people by negligence at the station of that company in the municipality of Licey al Medio, in Santiago, occurred on Saturday, October 3 of this year.

The detainees are Héctor Ramón Vásquez Sandoval, general manager; Aurilio Concepción, president; Roberto Antonio Polanco, operations manager, and Emilio Yan, manager of the affected station.

The Santiago prosecutor, Francisco Núñez, maintained that they determined negligence, human failure, and mechanical failure after completing the investigative process. The three safety valves that would have prevented the fire did not respond.

The magistrate also described the operation of a company with the facade of a cooperative, which in 40 years can only register 91 members, as a gross fraud to the Dominican State.

“When analyzing the minutes of the assemblies, we discovered that they are the same people who are recycled for the positions of administrator, president, and manager,” said the judicial official.

Coopegas has more than 20 stations throughout the country. According to Francisco Núñez, the establishments operate under the rules of cooperative to evade taxes.

The Public Ministry will be requested in the next few hours of preventive detention to measure coercion against the accused.

The tragedy

The gas plant accident originated on Saturday, October 3, at 6:00 in the morning due to a gas leak. The shock waves affected several nearby homes, killing the caretaker of the establishment and a newborn child.

Another 11 people were injured, of which nine have died since the tragedy occurred.

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