Fireball engulfs Tulsa oil refinery in record heat
At about 3:30 a.m. Eastern, 2:30 local time, an oil refinery in Tulsa, Okla., owned by HollyFrontier exploded.
The good news is that no one was injured. From NBC News:
The refinery has its own fire department, which was battling the blaze, and local authorities were on standby in case they were needed, the spokesperson said. The fire appeared under control and was being allowed to burn out, according to NBC station KJRH-Tulsa.
The explosion and subsequent blaze caused one smokestack to collapse, according to a report on local radio station KRMG. The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. …
The flames reached several stories into the air immediately following the explosion but had since died down, according to a KJRH reporter on the scene. The glow from the fire could be seen from several miles away, KJRH reported.
There was some concern that the weather would impact the ability to combat the flames.
Weather conditions for fighting the blaze were “not ideal,” according to AccuWeather, which reported temperatures of about 94 degrees with wind gusts up to 21 miles per hour.
A local resident described the moment of the explosion to KRMG.com:
Neighbors in the area of the refinery just west of the Arkansas River were standing outside their homes and watching the flames rise into the air. One of those is George, he told KRMG news what happened. “It sounded like an airplane that had crash landed, it came across my stereo and I thought, that’s not my stereo.” … George described what he saw when he got here “I just saw flames going up in the air, they have those stacks that have to be so far up in the air for regulations and they were as high as that.”George told us these kinds of events keep him concerned “yeah, maybe a little bit” he smiled as he said. “It really comes down to what you can afford and what you can afford, kinda like that.”
The facility processes 125,000 barrels of crude oil a day, making gasoline and diesel fuels. Nearby solar and wind facilities continue operation as normal.