Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Lifestyles
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Blast at Indiana BP oil refinery causes fire, rattles homes; 1 worker treated at hospital

WHITING, Ind. - An explosion at BP oil refinery in northwestern Indiana along Lake Michigan rattled nearby homes and sparked a fire that was later extinguished, but it didn't cause any major injuries or halt production at the facility, a company official said Thursday.

The explosion Wednesday night at the Whiting refinery, which is just east of Chicago, was caused by a fire in a compressor on a processing unit, BP America spokesman Scott Dean said. It happened about 9 p.m. and was extinguished by the plant's fire department within a couple of hours.

One employee was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but was later released, Dean said. Refinery operations were "minimally" affected by the fire, he said.

BP notified the state that more than 500 pounds of sulfur dioxide were released into the air because of the explosion, according to Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokesman Dan Goldblatt. He said a report is still being prepared, but that nearby monitors showed sulfur dioxide levels remained well below maximum levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Sulphur dioxide is commonly caused by cars, diesel trucks and coal power plants and contributes to acid rain.

A Whiting Fire Department spokesman said the blast could be heard clearly several blocks from the plant. However, when fire commanders called plant officials to see whether assistance was needed, they were told only to stand by.

The explosion follows a malfunction at the refinery in March that the company said spilled up to 1,600 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan. Crews spent several days cleaning up oil along the shoreline.

The refinery covers about 1,400 acres along the lake's shoreline.

BP completed work in late 2013 on a $4.2 billion expansion and upgrade of the refinery that will make it a top processor of heavy crude oil extracted from Canada's tar sand deposits.

Wednesday's explosion came on the anniversary of a 1955 blast at the refinery that threw debris onto nearby neighbourhoods, killing a 3-year-old boy as he slept and causing fires that burned for eight days, according to the Whiting Public Library's website.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100

Social Media