Superior, WI oil refinery catches fire; smoke seen for miles

Superior, WI oil refinery catches fire; smoke seen for miles

Thousands of residents are getting back to their homes after a refinery explosion and fire forced them to evacuate in northwestern Wisconsin Thursday. The area is still hot.

EPA official David Morrison said they were monitoring air quality on Thursday, using equipment on the crews who were right at the heart of the fire.

The evacuations extended 10 miles south of the refinery, three miles east and west, and one mile north. The couple heeded evacuation orders and went to the Black Bear Casino near Carlton, Minn., expecting to stay overnight.

"Right now we have confirmation that that unit was not compromised whatsoever", he said.

And in 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied a $21,000 fine for "violations related to hazardous waste operations, emergency response and flammable and combustible liquids", the station says.

"Several people were injured during the incident and taken to hospital", says Husky Energy, which operates the refinery that sits about one mile from Allouez Bay in northwest Wisconsin, near the border with Minnesota.

"Once we understood the full response plan, yes, I think it was our responsibility", he said, adding that he and his team meant to publicly lay out the potentially risky situation at a 7 p.m. press conference Thursday.




"That's when we were going to release all the information about our full plan to deal with the hydrogen fluoride, which we were formulating all day and preparing for all day", Paine said.

"That was the nature of the evacuation", Paine said.

CBS said in a report that a tank of crude oil or asphalt had exploded at refinery, which is owned and operated by Husky Energy. "We've got to be pretty proud of our little city of Superior", Hale said. "We needed that process to happen as smoothly as possible, while we prepared for any eventuality".

"So while we were trying to be transparent, we were trying to truly protect the public as well", Paine said.

Douglas County posted on its website that as of 3:15 p.m. CDT that another tank had caught fire.

Panger says local authorities are working with federal agencies to determine the cause of the explosion and how to make improvements. In more extreme cases, liver damage and cancer can occur if the exposure is more prolonged and extreme, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

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