Friday, April 2, 2010

"Transmission Losses:" 5 die in Wash. refinery blast, fire

An explosion and fire at a Washington state oil refinery shook homes and shot flames into the night sky early Friday, killing five people and critically injuring two others....

The blast was the biggest fatal refinery accident since a 2005 explosion at a BP American refinery in Texas killed 15 people and injured another 170, authorities said....

The state of Washington fined Tesoro $85,700 a year ago after an inspection found 17 serious safety and health violations at the Anacortes refinery. The state Department of Labor and Industries reached an agreement with the company in November requiring the hazards to be corrected and an independent safety audit, the agency said on its Web site. The fine was reduced to $12,250, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Web site....

Greg Cummings, from Abbottsford, B.C., had just gone to bed at the RV park across the bay from the refinery when he heard a loud whoosh and saw the flames.

“I thought it was a terrorist attack,” he said.....

San Antonio-based Tesoro Corp. is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products. The Anacortes refinery can refine about 130,000 barrels of crude daily, according to the company. The U.S. Energy Information Administration Web site ranks it as the 59th largest refinery in the nation.

Tesoro has owned the Anacortes refinery since 1998. It mainly processes Alaska North Slope crude and makes gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, mostly for Washington and Oregon....

Of the 18 open major accident cases the chemical safety board is examining, at least seven are refineries, Horowitz said. Yet there are only 150 refineries in the country and tens of thousands of other chemical plants.

“Almost half our accidents, the serious ones, are at refineries,” Horowitz said. “We’re seeing a disproportionate number of serious accidents at refineries.”

Transmission Losses: Motorist Dies in Flash Fire at Gas Station

A motorist today died today after his car caught fire on a petrol station forecourt, police said.

Firefighters said the "flash" fire had been contained inside the car and no-one else was hurt.

Police said fire was thought to have broken out shortly after the man had bought fuel and climbed into the car at a Shell garage in Guyhirn, Cambridgeshire.

"It obviously could have been much worse," said a police spokeswoman. "It seems that the fire didn't spread at all and the garage was able to reopen."
[Source: The Independent]