At least 15 Injuries in Superior Explosion; Fire Still Active

EXPRESSWisconsin explosion At least 20 people have been hurt

EXPRESSWisconsin explosion At least 20 people have been hurt

At least one local hospital shut its emergency room and transferred patients to its Duluth location, as an investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board was sent to the scene to begin probing the explosions and fire at Huskey Energy around 10 a.m.

Hospital officials said only one of the injured was seriously hurt, with what was described as a blast injury.

As if 11:15 a.m., there were no reports of deaths, but the situation is chaotic and reports are still coming in, a spokesman for the Superior Fire Department said.

There were no reports of fatalities, and all of the refinery's workers have been accounted for, Husky Energy's Duvall said.

A spokesperson for Essentia Health said 11 people were transported to hospitals in Duluth and Superior.

Later Thursday, a massive plume of smoke began billowing from the refinery.

Thick, black smoke poured from the refinery hours after the explosion. He said the fire is reportedly out.

"The most significant danger that's concerning me is the evacuation itself, ensuring that people leave in a safe and orderly fashion", Superior Mayor Jim Paine told reporters.

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Asphalt is a petroleum product that when burned emits chemicals in gaseous form and small particles that can linger long after the smoke dissipates, said Wilma Subra, a chemist with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network who has examined past refinery accidents.

Police and Douglas County officials on Thursday evening posted they were allowing residents to return to their homes but asking them to wait at least two hours before doing so.

Talarico says another five are being treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, Wisconsin, where the explosion happened. But she said it's clear people shouldn't be breathing it in and she wonders how it will affect the water and air quality. The other nine injuries are not life-threatening, she said.

Fire Chief Steve Panger said local authorities were still working with federal agencies to determine the cause of the explosion. She doesn't know the condition of that person. Roads are blocked off around the refinery, and employees have been evacuated.

No damage estimate was available.

Calgary-Alberta-based Husky Energy refinery bought the refinery from Indianapolis-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners a year ago for $492 million. It's Wisconsin's only refinery, and it produces gasoline, asphalt and other products.

The refinery, which dates back to the early 1950s, has a professing capacity of around 50,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels of crude and products. It processes both heavy crude from the Canadian tar sands in Alberta and lighter North Dakota Bakken crude.

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