Friday, 14 December, 2018

'Multiple casualties' in explosion at Wisconsin oil refinery

EXPRESSWisconsin explosion At least 20 people have been hurt EXPRESSWisconsin explosion At least 20 people have been hurt
Ray Hunter | 29 April, 2018, 01:00

The explosion broke out at Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, Wis., the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

The TV station reports St. Luke's Hospital confirms that they have an incident command center set up, and are receiving patients from the explosion.

The call came in at 10:06 a.m., according to Superior Fire Department Chief Steve Panger.

About 180 people work at the refinery, built in 1950.

There were no reports of fatalities, and all of the refinery's workers have been accounted for, Husky Energy's Duvall said.

Essentia Health spokesperson Maureen Talarico said five patients were being treated at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.

Thick black smoke billowed from the facility and hung over Superior throughout the day, forcing tens of thousands to flee homes and businesses. "When you see that kind of smoke, it means you're getting a lot of unburned hydrocarbons". He said the fire is reportedly out.

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. Friday classes were cancelled in Superior and nearby Maple school districts, also as a precaution, officials said.

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has sent a four-person team to investigate.

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Most of Superior was covered by the order.

Refinery manager Kollin Schade said six injured workers were taken to hospitals and seven others were treated at the scene following Thursday's explosion. The extent of the injuries were not immediately known. She did not have a condition for that person.

The fire was put out about 11:20 a.m. but reignited, prompting police to urge residents living within an evacuation area to leave.

A contractor who was inside the building told WDIO television that the explosion sounded like "a sonic boom" that happened when crews were working on shutting the plant down for repairs.

Roads around the refinery were blocked and employees evacuated, with several ambulances seen leaving the site, local media reported.

Husky's website says the Superior refinery processes light and heavy crude oil and produces asphalt, gasoline, diesel, and heavy fuel oils.

Calgary-Alberta-based Husky Energy refinery bought the refinery from Indianapolis-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners past year for $492 million.

The refinery had been fined by federal officials several years ago under its previous owners.

The refinery, which dates back to the early 1950s, has a professing capacity of around 50,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels of crude and products.

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