A fire broke out early today at the Baytown refinery operated by Exxon, injuring four people.
Law enforcement has called the fire a major industrial incident, the Wall Street Journal reported. No fatalities were reported at the 561,000-bpd complex.
“ExxonMobil’s emergency response teams continue to work to extinguish the fire that occurred in a hydrodesulfurization unit at our Baytown Refinery this morning around 1 a.m. Central Time,” the supermajor said in a statement emailed to the WSJ.
“We are saddened to inform that four people were injured and are receiving medical treatment. All other personnel have been accounted for.”
“Our first priority is people in the community and in our facilities. Air monitoring continues along the fence line. Available information shows no adverse impact at this time,” the company’s Baytown division said in a statement, as quoted by the WSJ.
NBC quoted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office as saying that deputies were responding to the incident and that residents were advised to avoid the area of the refinery. However, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, there was for now no need to evacuate the area or issue a shelter-in-place order.
A manager at the Baytown refinery, Rohan Davies, said, as quoted by NBC, that all four injured people were transported from the site to hospital and all were in stable condition.
While the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the fire appeared to be the result of an explosion, Davies said that “At this time, we’re still collecting all that information,” adding: “We will conduct a full and thorough investigation.”
A CBS affiliate station reported that the fire had erupted in the part of the refinery that produces gasoline but the rest of the complex was operating. According to the WSJ report, the fire had broken out at the petrochemical part of the complex, which produces plastics.