Local media reports 10 people were injured in a Husky refinery explosion and fire in Superior, Wisconsin on Thursday morning. Duluth News Tribune photo.
Husky refinery explosion occurred as crews were preparing plant for repairs
Ten people were injured when a fiery explosion rocked a refinery located in Superior, Wisconsin on Thursday morning.
The Husky refinery explosion occurred at about 10 a.m., at the state’s only refinery. According to Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger, five people were taken to hospitals in nearby Duluth, Minnesota. Other victims were referred to as “walking wounded” by media.
There are no known fatalities.
A contractor who was working inside the building told WDIO TV that the blast sounded like “a sonic boom”. The explosion occurred as refinery crews were getting ready to shut down the plant for repairs.
“The whole building shook. The lights flickered three times and the whole building shook,” said Jim Ronning, owner of Hudy’s Tavern in Superior. Ronning’s bar is located about a mile (1.6 km) from the refinery.
Panger reported that the fire was knocked out by 11:20 a.m. The chief said a small tank holding either crude oil or asphalt exploded, sparking the blaze.
Nearby residents have not been evacuated, but roads around the refinery have been blocked off and police are asking people to stay away from the area.
There is no damage estimate available at this time.
Speaking with the Duluth News Tribune, Mel Duvall, manager of media and issues for Calgary-based Husky, said he has no information on where inside the refinery the explosion occurred.
“We’ll have more information as it becomes available,” he told the News Tribune.
Husky bought the refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners in 2017 for $490 million. The facility produces gasoline, asphalt and other products.
The plant was built in the early 1950s and has a processing capacity of about 50,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels of crude and other petroleum products.
The refinery processes Alberta oil sands heavy crude as well as North Dakota Bakken crude.