One day after the Wisconsin refinery explosion, tens of thousands of people were allowed to return to their homes. The blast at the Husky Energy refinery injured at least 16 people. Twitter photo.
Wisconsin refinery explosion injured at least 16 people forced the evacuation of most of the city of Superior, WI
Tens of thousands of residents of Superior, Wisconsin, evacuated following a fiery explosion that rocked the Husky Energy refinery Thursday, were allowed to return home on Friday morning.
The Wisconsin refinery explosion occurred at about 10 a.m., Thursday. Fire crews extinguished the initial fire by just after 11 a.m., however, after the first blaze was put out, a storage tank at the facility was punctured and the second fire erupted.
Soon after, nearby residents were asked to leave. The evacuation order was lifted as of 6 a.m., local time on Friday.
“All indications are that the refinery site is safe and stable and the air quality is clean and normal,” Superior Mayor Jim Paine said on Facebook.
As of Friday morning, only one of the 16 injured in the blast remained in hospital. A spokeswoman for Essentia-St Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota, said the patient is listed in good condition. The fifteen others treated for blast-related injuries were released from hospital.
Husky spokeswoman Kim Guttormson says the refinery remains closed on Friday and firefighters are monitoring hot spots within the plant. The refinery processes about 38,000 barrels of oil a day, produces asphalt, gasoline, diesel and heavy fuel oils, and employs about 165 people.
Guttormson adds that investigators have not determined the cause of the explosions nor the extent of the damage to the production units at the refinery.
The refinery was preparing for a plant-wide overhaul at the time of the Wisconsin refinery explosion, according to Husky.
A four-person team from the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has been dispatched to the scene. The non-regulatory federal agency investigates serious chemical accidents like the Husky blast.
Husky Energy purchased the refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP in 2017.