An Exxon Mobil oil refinery exploded Wednesday in Torrance, California, injuring four workers and taking out the windows of nearby buildings. The blast occurred at 9 am PST on Wednesday and caused a small ground fire, which was immediately put out. A gasoline leak caused by the blast was contained. The four contractors that were injured were taken to Long Beach Medical Center to evaluate their injuries, which were apparently minor. The Torrance fire department ruled out any chance of foul play.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District sent out inspectors to take air samples, and issued a warning for children, the elderly and individuals with respiratory and heart conditions to stay indoors, and for healthy people to avoid strenuous activity, if they see or smell smoke in the area. The California Department of Industrial Relations has opened a probe into the blast, and has ordered Exxon Mobil to immediately cease operating its 100,000-barrel-per-day fluid catalytic cracker until the investigation is over. This shutdown could last up to six months.
Exxon is currently look into the cause of explosion, but no details have been released yet—however, the blast comes on the heels of United Steelworkers walking out of 11 facilities (not including Torrance) on account of fears for employee safety. The Torrance blast certainly underlines their concerns.
Images via KTLA