20 dead, 54 burned in fire at tap on Mexico fuel pipeline

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A huge fire at a pipeline leaking fuel in central Mexico killed 20 people and badly burned 54 others on Friday after locals tried to collect the spilling fuel in buckets, officials said.

The pipeline apparently exploded hours after thieves drilled an illegal tap into the pipeline in a small town in the state of Hidalgo, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Mexico City.

Hidalgo Gov. Omar Fayad told the Milenio television network that the dead and injured figures were based on initial reports.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has declared an offensive against fuel theft, and on Friday he called on all branches of government to lend assistance to the victims.

Video from the scene earlier in the day showed what appeared to be gasoline spouting dozens of feet into the air.