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In photos, video: Venezuela refinery fire finally extinguished

Fatal fires raged at refinery tanks for three days before being put out.

Image: Ariana Cubillos/AP/Press Association Images

VENEZUELAN FIREFIGHTERS have managed to put out a blaze at the country’s largest oil refinery which started early on Saturday.

The fire began after an explosion at the facility and spread to three fuel tanks. At least 41 people have died, about half of whom were National Guards assigned to protect the refinery, and scores more were injured.

An investigation into the cause of the explosion and ensuing fire has been launched, but officials said over the weekend that they believed a gas leak at one of the tanks was at the source of the blast. A number of nearby homes were damaged by the explosion.

In photos, video: Venezuela refinery fire finally extinguished
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  • Refinery Explosion

    Magda Caseres walks among debris of her home shattered by the explosion. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    Rescue workers walk past a damaged area on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    A man walks past the still-burning Amuay refinery on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    A family walks among debris at their damaged home near Punto Fijo, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

  • Refinery Explosion

    A large fire rises over the Amuay refinery on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    Rescue workers stand in front of a pedestrian bridge damaged by the refinery blast. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    Two boys watch the flames rising from the Amuay refinery on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    People stand in front of damaged commercial shops after a explosion in the Amuay refinery. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    Members of the Cespedes's family stand on the street after they evacuated their house on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    President Hugo Chavez greets supporters during a visit to injured people at the Rafael Calle Sierra's public hospital in Punto Fijo on Monday after the refinery explosion. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)
  • Refinery Explosion

    Fire rises over the Amuay refinery near Punto Fijo, Venezuela, yesterday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos/PA)

Authorities evacuated houses in the area following the explosion. However, locals have criticised how authorities have handled the disaster, saying they received no official warning before the 1am explosion.

President Hugo Chavez tweeted updates on the operation to extinguish the fires last night, and officials said today that the fires are out and that the focus now is on cooling the tanks.

Russia Today has this dramatic footage of the blaze and the thick column of smoke rising from the flames:

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