Rum Factory Fire Continued…

Friday, July 4, 2014
By Martin Myall

The name Ron Montero is interwoven within the recent history in Salobreña & Motril, mainly because it is unique and very much a family run enterprise.

The distillery was founded in 1963 by Francisco Montero; the man who created Ron Pálido. He ran it for nearly fifty years before handing over the business, five years before his death in 2012, to his nephew.

The essence has always been the quality and originality, with the distillery never producing more than 240,000 bottles a year, letting the brew age in American/French-oak barrels – nothing hurried; nothing added nor shortcuts taken in order to produce a perfect quantity always outstripped by demand.

The nephew, who was the owner of the last sugar factory in Europe (Azucarera del Guadalfeo, Salobreña), had put his daughter, Andrea in charge and she oversaw the modernization of the facilities whilst maintaining the essence of Ron Montero

And then, on the 2nd of July, disaster struck, devastating the factory and cruelly maiming workers.

Fate would have it that Andrea was in Nicaragua; the family on her mother’s side is from that country. It was the Mayor of Motril who phoned Andrea to tell her what had happened and Andrea’s immediate reaction was to ask about the workers – almost part of the family – and the answer wasn’t good: three badly injured with burns, ranging from 100% burns to 35%.

Rum Montero packing OnLEven the worker with the least percentage of his body burned is very seriously ill, so much so that he has now been transferred from Granada Hospital to Sevilla, whose main hospital specializes in burns and where his two companions are already battling for their lives.

Two of them, Manuel and Miguel García, are brothers, both in their 40’s, having worked for over ten years for the company (over 20 years in Miguel’s case) and the third, Miguel Lorenzo, still in his 20’s, worked in the administration office.

One of the workers made his own way out but the other two – horribly burned – had to be helped out by firemen. One of them had got under the shower there and wouldn’t leave it, such was his pain.

Rum Montero barrels OnLTwenty minutes after the first, colossal, explosion two other smaller explosions greeted the firemen as they fought their way into the bodega where the barrels were stacked but they escaped injury.

Back in 2010 the Almuñécar Royal Naval Association had a tour of the facilities, which was when these photographs were taken. Although I cannot be sure, some of the men seen in one of the photographs are almost certainly those injured in the explosion.

Update (05/07/14 – 13.22h) Miguel, the man with the 90% (Revised down from 100%) burns has died. He had also had internal injuries from the blast.

(News: Salobrena/Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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