Multiple injuries reported after explosion rocks Wisconsin oil refinery


The explosion broke out at Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, Wis. Shortly after that, police urged anyone within a one-mile radius of the refinery, and within 10 miles to the south and three miles to the east and west, to evacuate the area immediately, per a Douglas County Emergency Alert.

It was unclear how many people were being evacuated. The corridor downwind to the south is sparsely populated.

Local media had earlier reported 20 people injured.

Panger says the fire was out by 11:20 a.m.

The Superior Police Department tweeted to stay away from the area due to a "large incident".

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Employees of the refinery and multiple contractors working in the facility were evacuated and staging on Hill Avenue which was blocked off to traffic.

Essentia Health spokeswoman Maureen Talarico said five people injured in the explosion are being treated at St. Mary's Medical Center, a Level II trauma center in Duluth. She described their injuries as varied, but said she could not offer further details.

Talarico says another five are being treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, Wisconsin, where the explosion happened. One person suffered a serious blast injury while the other nine had non-life-threatening injuries.

Eleven people had been transported to a hospital for treatment, local reports said, and there appeared to be no deaths. A contractor who was inside the building told WDIO television that the explosion sounded like "a sonic boom" and that it happened when crews were working on shutting the plant down for repairs.

No damage estimate was available.

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The refinery, which Husky Energy purchased previous year, processes crude oil from Canadian and North Dakota fields.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, about 180 people work at the refinery, which provides the area with gasoline, asphalt and other specialty petroleum products.

Cheryl Thielman, 58, who manages a mobile home park near the refinery, told AFP that the first explosion was a "huge boom". Those violations were marked as settled and the problems solved by the end of that year.

Husky Energy concluded its purchase of the refinery in November, spending $492 million to acquire the refinery from Calumet. The facility can process up to 38,000 barrels of oil a day.

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