'Multiple casualties' in explosion at Wisconsin oil refinery

Reported After Refinery Explosion in Wisconsin The explosion happened Thursday

Reported After Refinery Explosion in Wisconsin The explosion happened Thursday

Shortly after that, police urged anyone within a one-mile radius of the refinery, and within 10 miles to the south and three miles to the east and west, to evacuate the area immediately, per a Douglas County Emergency Alert. "They had people evacuating, a lot of the contactors".

"Typically fires that have the potential to be a larger scale, which something involving a refinery where there's combustible materials and so on, we basically respond to assist the fire department and control access to the area, make sure that we're stopping people from going into potentially an unsafe area", Alexander said. The corridor downwind to the south of the refinery is sparsely populated.

Initial reports are at least 20 casualties transported. A spokeswoman for Essentia Health says one person was seriously injured, while another nine being treated at Essentia hospitals in Superior and nearby Duluth, Minnesota, have non-life-threatening injuries.

Fire officials said the explosion happened around 10 a.m. and the fire was extinguished by 11:20 a.m., though the plant was still smoking.

The Superior Police Department tweeted that the Douglas County Emergency Management has issued an evacuation order after the fire reignited.

John Anderson, an employee of Stadium Towing, which had workers near the site of the explosion, told AFP that emergency crews were clearing the scene. Mary's Medical Center and a fifth was on the way, said a hospital spokeswoman.

The Superior School District sent a message to parents saying "at this time, there is no reason to evacuate any of the school buildings".

No damage estimate was available.

Calgary-based Husky Energy bought the refinery from Indianapolis-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners previous year for more than $490 million.

About 180 people are employed at Wisconsin's sole refinery, which provides the Northland with gasoline, asphalt and other specialty petroleum products.

Cheryl Thielman, 58, who manages a mobile home park near the refinery, told AFP that the first explosion was a "huge boom". The violations were settled and the problems resolved by the end of that year. Calumet Superior operates as a subsidiary of Calumet Specialty Products Partners, which sold the plant to Husky Energy previous year.

The refinery, which dates back to the early 1950s, has a processing capacity of around 50,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels of crude and products.

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