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Explosion, Large Fire Reported at Texas Refinery
April 20, 2018
2 Min Read
A sign marking an entrance to the Valero refinery in Texas City, TX. Image courtesy of Google Maps
An explosion rocked a Texas refinery on Thursday afternoon, causing flames over 100 ft high and a thick plume of smoke to develop over the facility.
Fire crews responded to the Valero Energy site in Texas City, TX at about 5 p.m., and brought the flames under control by 6:30 p.m., Texas City officials said in local media reports.
Valero said in a statement that all workers at the site were accounted for following the incident, and that the company is working with local authorities, regulatory agencies, and other parties. No injuries or fatalities were reported.
“At this time, Valero has very little information as to the cause of the fire,” company spokesperson Lillian Riojas said in a report by Reuters. “Our primary concern is for the safety of our workers.”
During the incident, flames reached as high as 100 ft., the Associated Press reported. The blast is thought to have originated from a 12,000-bpd alkylation unit, unnamed sources told Reuters, where by-products are transformed into gasoline additives.
Filings with regulatory agencies show the Valero site in Texas City stores a minimum of 280,000 lbs of the compound hydrogen fluoride at the site, a potentially dangerous substance, the Plainview Daily Herald said in its coverage of the incident. No occupational safety investigations have been opened at the refinery within the last five years, according to the newspaper.
Authorities said no danger was posed to the public and no shelter-in-place orders were issued in the area surrounding the plant.
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