A blast at a gasoline pipeline in Mexico that killed at least 79 people has directed renewed scrutiny toward the new president's ambitious strategy to stop fuel theft, his first major offensive to stamp out corruption and organized crime.
Mr Lopez Obrador has repeatedly been asked why soldiers deployed to guard the duct did not chase people away from the leak, and how quickly the pipeline was shut down after Pemex detected the rupture.
The victims were consumed by flames on Friday night as they attempted to cart off petrol spurting out of a punctured pipeline that belongs to the state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
"Part of the blame goes to the people [at the ruptured pipeline] but the bigger blame lies with authorities who let them go there knowing it was unsafe", said Velasco, the farmer.
The blast has become the latest controversy faced by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) whose government shut down several of the country's main fuel pipelines as part of a strategy to root out the country's widespread theft of fuel.
Two hours later, the gushing pipeline exploded, turning what had been an excited gathering into a hellish inferno.
Governor Omar Fayad also said Saturday at a news conference in Mexico City that at least 74 others were injured.
Lopez Obrador launched an offensive against the $3 billion per-year fuel theft industry after taking office December 1.
In response to a question about whether cartels present in Hidalgo, which include Los Zetas and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, might have caused the disaster in revenge for the clampdown, the president said all possibilities were being investigated.
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Video footage showed dozens of people in an nearly festive atmosphere gathered in a field where a duct had been breached by fuel thieves.
Authorities have blamed fuel theft for previous explosions in Mexico.
Pemex Chief Executive Octavio Romero said an estimated 10,000 barrels of premium gasoline were rushing through the pipeline with 20 kilograms of pressure when it was ruptured.
Mexico is regularly rocked by deadly explosions at illegal pipeline taps, a risky but lucrative business whose players include powerful drug cartels and corrupt Pemex insiders. "Within a week, fuel shortages led to shuttered stations and long lines around the country".
"We are going to find those responsible for actions that generated this tragedy", he said. Since they began reopening it on January 16 it had been hit four times he said. Officials posted information about DNA tests for identification and a list of people taken to hospital.
Officials say 25 military personnel arrived on the scene soon after the pipeline started spewing fuel on Friday. But in this fire there were no reported casualties.
A pipeline explosion in central Mexico has left 66 people dead and 76 injured.