December 26, 2008 at 1:31 pm #3267
Fire crews respond to another refinery blaze
By The Gazette Staff / December 26, 2008UPDATE 3:50 p.m.:
Billings firefighters responded to a fire at the Conoco Phillips refinery on Billings’ South Side today.
About 12:30 p.m., flames produced a tall column of black smoke over the refinery.
The butane fire was in a unit that aids in the production of gasoline, said Bill Tanner, Conoco spokesman.
Refinery emergency crews responded immediately and the Billings Fire Department was called as a precautionary measure, Tanner said.
By the time city fire crews got to the refinery, Conoco employees had the situation under control.
“They got on it right away,” said Perry McKinney, the Fire Department’s battalion chief for the day.
Three city fire engines, a ladder truck and the battalion chief’s vehicle rolled on the fire call.
City fire trucks, which were on the scene for about two hours, pumped water into the area of the fire.
The fire caused no injuries or health problems in the area around the refinery.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Fire extinguished at CHS Refinery in Laurel
By The Gazette Staff / December 26, 2008A fire at the CHS Refinery in Laurel was extinguished early today by refinery workers.
Refinery manager Pat Kimmet said that refinery officials are investigating the cause of the fire, which did not prompt a call for mutual aid from fire departments in Laurel or Billings.
Kimmet said no one was injured in the fire.
Lani Jordan, a CHS spokesperson in St. Paul, Minn., said the fire started at 3:45 a.m. in Zone D of the refinery, where ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel is made. The fire was extinguished by 5 a.m., she said.
“We’re very thankful that no one was injured and there were no impacts on the surrounding community,” she said.
She said the refinery’s fire crew and other employees brought the blaze under control.
“Our fire crew and employee volunteers are very well trained to handle this kind of situation,” she said.
She said the diesel unit has been shut down and other refinery operations are under review.
The Gazette received reports of an explosion at the refinery at about 3:30 a.m. One Laurel resident said that the explosion shook houses in the area and was followed by the sounds of emergency instructions being broadcast over loudspeakers. The resident said the sky above the refinery was “lit up with a orange glow from the continuous venting from several refinery stacks.”
Billings residents reported hearing a loud boom and seeing a plume of smoke or steam over the refinery. Flames were visible for a short time from vehicles traveling on Interstate 90 east of the refinery.
Kimmet said more information will be made available after a “full assessment” of the fire is completed later today.
Published on Thursday, December 25, 2008.
Last modified on 12/25/2008 at 5:53 am
December 26, 2008 at 1:32 pm #6387
Here are news articles on Fires at both COP Billings & CHS Laurel coking refineries! Both fires are out & no injuries reported – both currently under investigation for cause.
December 28, 2008 at 10:36 pm #6386
Why can’t they just say it was a fire in the Alkylation Unit? Why all the subterfuge calling it a unit that aids in gasoline production?
December 29, 2008 at 12:58 am #6385
I don’t think there is any intended subtrefuge labeling it a gasoline producing unit. Most of the initial news articles are often done by local / area reporters that don’t have a lot depth on Refinery process or what the units do within it, and so passing on area impacted for general information is more important at the time.
Additionally most of the designated refinery spokesmen are going to be very cautious on initial statements and be guided by management & legal on what to say to limit legal exposure of the company.
The followup articles often have details about the accidents, units, people and events once everyone has clear picture of what is going on – not when event is fresh & trying shoot from the hip with limited data.
Hope this helps
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