He also explained that contingency plans were implemented during down time. Regular distribution continued. "If the whole network of refineries were stopped," he added, "we'd be able to supply fuel for more than 10 days."
The incident took 48 lives. Plant workers and National Guard forces died. Over 100 others were injured. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged.
It's one of Venezuela's deadliest incidents. Earlier Tacoa and Las Tejerias refinery accidents killed 260 and 48 respectively. Around 160 died from a Ricardo Zuluaga electric power plant explosion.
Amuay's fire burned for days and spread. Damage caused was extensive. Chavez declared three days of mourning, saying:
"At this time of great pain, and from the bottom of my soldier's heart, may you and all of our comrades in arms from the National Bolivarian Guard receive a huge embrace in solidarity for the painful loss of such brave lives in the tragedy in Amuay."
"As the Son of Bolivar that I am, today my mourning is the same mourning as that of the entire country."
Following the incident, opposition forces and media scoundrels accused authorities of "gross negligence," "under-investment," and poor maintenance.
Chavez called it "very regrettable if some Venezuelans tried to use the pain of the victims to take advantage of the situation" and use it for political advantage.