Oil Refinery Explosion Forces Evacuations in Superior

Oil Refinery Explosion Forces Evacuations in Superior

Kerry Wise
April 29, 2018

With the addition of the Superior Refinery, Husky's total downstream capacity increased to approximately 395,000 barrels per day. However, shortly after 12 p.m., the fire reignited, sending large clouds of black smoke into the air. There are injuries, which are being treated at hospital and on site.

The initial fire was out and the scene was declared stable by 11:20 a.m., according to Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger. Douglas County Emergency Management has ordered evacuations for people within a one-mile radius of the facility. It's created to protect vessels and people from possible air quality hazards, the military said.

Residents who evacuated and needed shelter gathered at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center as the primary site.

UW-Superior, all Superior public schools, Maple public schools and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College are closed today.

"The most significant danger that's concerning me is the evacuation itself, ensuring that people leave in a safe and orderly fashion", Superior Mayor Jim Paine told reporters. Local officials say the evacuations are a precaution as a plume of noxious black smoke drifts southward from the plant. The board makes safety recommendations after serious chemical incidents.

Brad Boos, president for Hunt Electric North, which had 37 workers at the refinery at the time of the explosion, said one of their employees was hurt by debris/shrapnel from the first explosion but is expected to be OK.

"You can still smell a real caustic smell in the air", said Sara Haugen, owner of Pudge's bar in Superior, located about 135 miles (217 km) from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Residents needing accommodation, food or transportation, or help dealing with other issues or concerns can call Husky's Superior assistance line at 1-800-686-3192. Orders from police at that time were to evacuate immediately. The corridor downwind to the south of the refinery is sparsely populated.

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"St. Luke's has set up an incident command center and we are fully prepared to receive patients from the explosion at the refinery in Superior".

The number of people injured in a refinery explosion in Wisconsin has grown to at least 11.

All of the patients taken to the Duluth trauma care center were awake and alert, Talirico said.

Talarico says another five are being treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, Wisconsin, where the explosion happened. She doesn't know the condition of that person.

"The oil refinery just blew up and I'm in the evacuation zone", said Efim Kolobov". All workers have been accounted for, and no fatalities have been reported. The fire is out. It produces asphalt, gasoline, diesel and heavy fuel oils, largely using heavy crude oil imported from Canada.

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

The explosion at the state's only oil refinery - Husky Oil - happened shortly after 10 a.m. on Superior's east side. Others were walking wounded.

Police blocked roads around the refinery.