“It’s sad because there are a large number of deaths”, “and also because there are children”, laments actor Teheran Aguilar, 46.
Popular on the island for the television series “Stories of Fire”, where he plays the role of a firefighter, the actor has been working for several days at the site of the explosion as a volunteer firefighter, wearing a white helmet and black overalls and yellow.
Not far from him, Edel Llopiz, 48, hugs Yomy, his rescue dog, a 12-year-old Labrador. “I made my contribution, with my dog, who played a big role in this battle and in the face of this pain for our country”, he testifies.
“I hope the country will recover, that we will recover, yes I’m sure of it,” said this specialist in canine techniques.
Despite his experience in a forensic medicine service, Raul Leon, 53, remains shaken by the drama: “It’s shocking, because I’ve never seen anything like it, but hey, we’re here, trying to do as best we can, to support families so that they can find their loved ones”.
Friday morning, the luxury hotel in Old Havana was in the final preparations before its reopening scheduled for Tuesday, after works and two years of closure due to the pandemic. Fifty employees were on site. A tank truck carried out the gas supply.
Suddenly a loud explosion and a thick cloud of smoke: the first four floors flew to pieces.
“This explosion is the strongest I have felt in my entire life. I am still in a state of shock”, confides Maria Victoria Salomon, 60, teacher in a school near Saratoga.
With broken voice and moist eyes, Nairobi Evora, 36, has spent the past few days coordinating ambulances to take the injured to various hospitals.
“It touches me closely, because my mother worked for many years here (at the Saratoga hotel, editor’s note). Many of her colleagues are dead, and I am here and I try to bring my grain of sand. We couldn’t save them all, but we saved a lot.”
With his Red Cross uniform, Inti Guevara, 50, is also tired after these long days of work, but remains determined.
“I will stay here until the last moment, until they say there are no more victims” under the rubble. “It’s my hope that even if it’s the last (person that we get out of the rubble), that we get them out alive.”