Friday, 18 October, 2019

Smoke from Wisconsin oil refinery explosion shows up on radar

Evacuation order lifted after refinery blast leaves several hurt Modal Trigger Smoke rises from the Husky Energy oil refinery after an explosion and fire. AP
Patty Aguilar | 27 April, 2018, 20:48

A four person team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will investigate the fire Friday and the mayor of Superior will provide an update on the evacuation order Friday morning at 10 a.m. No details were available on the extent of damage to the refinery.

After flames were extinguished, an evacuation order remained in effect as officials verify the area is safe, Superior Mayor Jim Paine told a news conference.

"The status of the site itself and the personnel we have on scene give us confidence there is no danger to the public for the time being", Paine said.

Essentia Health and St. Luke's hospital officials said a combined 11 refinery victims were confirmed treated in Duluth and Superior facilities, one with a "serious blast injury". Authorities say there are no fatalities and all workers are accounted for. An evacuation zone of 10 miles south of the refinery was put in place nearly immediately. That prompted them to order the evacuation of a 3-mile (5-kilometer) radius around the refinery, as well as a 10-mile (16-kilometer) corridor south of it where the smoke was heading. Friday classes were canceled in Superior and nearby Maple school districts, also as a precaution, officials said.

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The original tank to catch fire held a petroleum product used in the production of asphalt.

Despite the refinery being located in an industrial area, there is a residential area about a mile from it.

Johnson, who was working from home at the time of the blast, said the windows shook.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Superior refinery had been fined by federal authorities three years ago, when it was still owned by Calumet Specialty Products Partners, which Husky Energy bought it from in 2017 for US$490 million.

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