Dec 23, 2021– A fire broke out in the Exxon Mobil refinery located in Baytown, TX today, injuring four contract workers who were repairing a pipeline inside the hydrotreater unit. This unit was shutdown earlier this week after a leakage and apparently was being repaired by contract workers.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Harris County, tweeted that “initial reports indicated some type of explosion occurred inside the plant.”
This Exxon Mobile refinery fire was raging for several hours, but has now been put out and is under control, according to people familiar with the incident. This oil refinery is the fourth largest in the US, having a capacity to process more than 500,000 barrels of crude per day. The same location also has an Olefins plant and a chemical plant in addition to the refinery. It is a big facility, spanning about 3400 acres located about 25 miles from Houston. It employs about 7000 people. Other units in the complex continued to operate normally.
The injured workers have been shifted to hospitals and everyone at the site has been accounted for. Some Twitter users said that there was a sound of a blast prior to the fire.
Here is a report from a local TV station KHOU regarding the incident.
According to CBS News reports, the company stated “Our Industrial Hygiene staff continues air quality monitoring at the site and fence line. Available information shows no adverse impact at this time,” and it was also “coordinating with authorities as appropriate.”
It is not clear if the US Chemical Safety Board will be investigating the incident.