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An explosion at a leaking oil pipeline has killed at least 20 people and injured dozens in central Mexico.

Local residents were scrambling to steal some of the leaking oil when they were engulfed in flames, said Hidalgo state governor Omar Fayad.

Fifty-four people have been taken to hospitals with burns, he added.

Television footage showed flames leaping into the night sky in the town of Tlahuelilpan, near the Tula oil refinery on Friday.

The cause of the leak is unclear.

Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, has suffered a number of accidents in the past.

At least 37 people were killed in an explosion at its Mexico City headquarters in 2013 and another 26 died in a fire at a gas facility in 2012.

 

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