In 2017, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board published a 73-page report on the explosion. TORRANCE An explosion and fire in a gasoline processing unit rocked the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance today, injuring three workers and sending flames and ash into the sky. TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC) -- The Torrance Police Department issued an alert for the city, notifying them that the Torrance ExxonMobil Refinery had an explosion and fire early Saturday morning. In September, the South Coast Air Quality Management District governing board voted instead to accept a voluntary oil industry pledge to enhance safety measures. In February, a large explosion occurred at ExxonMobils refinery in Torrance, California. 2022 Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers. Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers is a Houston Personal Injury Law Firm that represents accident victims across Texas, Louisiana and the United States. Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Instead, if a leak occurred, a ground-hugging liquid cloud would form, according to a 2018 report from the Torrance refinery defending its use of the chemical. On Saturday, the Torrance Refinery Action Alliance announced a campaign urging Gov. Its unclear what effect these new calls to action will have on the refineries MHF usage. Authorities said the incident happened around 6 a.m. and 36 firefighters responded to the refinery. Visit our website, www.csb.gov. A reaction between hydrocarbons and catalyst takes place in what is known as the hydrocarbon side of the FCC unit. Four were taken to hospitals. Some said they heard one of the workers may have turned on the gas inside one of the apartments before it was completely ready. Environmentalists and activists, though, argue that the additives levels in MHF have significantly decreased since the modified versions creation. The AQMD scrapped the potential ban in 2019 instead accepting proffers from both refineries that promised to make safety enhancements to their existing MHF units. So far though, it doesn't appear as if any serious damage or injuries have occurred, barring reported explosions in Torrance. Before joining the newsroom in 2016, she was a general assignment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com. "I just appreciate that I'm here. A buildup of natural gas caused the explosion that leveled a Torrance home, damaged scores of others and rained glass, stucco and other debris over a two-block area, investigators said. 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The explosion occurred in the refinerys fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, where a variety of products, mainly gasoline, are produced. Had the tanks ruptured, the report said, it would have caused a massive release of MHF, which can be deadly to anyone who comes in contact with it. All communications are private and confidential. For a while, though, flames shot 40 feet into the air. The motion the LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed in mid-February asks Gov. A group of activists on Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of an explosion at the Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance that injured four workers and prompted continuing concerns about the potential for an even more catastrophic incident and the release of toxic chemicals and fumes into local communities. TORRANCE (CBSLA) Firefighters say four people have been injured in a reported explosion at an apartment complex in Torrance. The AQMD estimated that replacing the MHF alkylation units with a safer sulfuric acid unit would cost the Torrance refinery about $900 million, and could temporarily impact gasoline supply and cost. Still, the explosion led to further safety measures, some the refineries put in voluntarily and others they did so essentially at the behest of government agencies. Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blast, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. PST . Activists held an event Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of the explosion at the Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance that injured four workers. The blast caused serious property damage to the refinery and scattered catalyst dust up to a mile away from the facility into the nearby community. The bottom line is Torrance Refinery now has the most advanced safety systems of any HF Alkylation Unit in California, the U.S., and the world.. CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, This explosion and near miss should not have happened, and likely would not have happened, had a more robust process safety management system been in place. Those improvements were completed in 2021 and are now in service, Lafayette said. The PBF Energy facility has been plagued with a series of incidents since the massive blast two years ago that almost caused a catastrophic release of highly toxic hydrofluoric acid that could have killed and injured thousands. Zehl & Associates is always looking for smart, hardworking and talented personal injury attorneys and staff to join our team. Tammy Khan, of the Torrance Unified School District, said the shetler-in-place order was lifted early Wednesday afternoon. Environmentalists and concerned residents say MHF could prove catastrophic if the chemical were to escape, pointing to its corrosivity and studies that show its ability to travel beyond a refinerys footprint. The building has been undergoing renovations for some time, and the victims are believed to be remodelers working in one of the involved units, neighbors said. A powerful blast at an ExxonMobil oil refinery rocked Torrance, California, on Wednesday. The refineries are required to provide quarterly updates to the agency.. After protests and intensified public pressure from such activists as the Heises mounted in 2017, the AQMDs Proposed Rule 1410 became a key focus of the agencys Governing Board. The refineries are the only two in the state that use the substance. Robert Millea said he couldnt immediately confirm whether an explosion actually occurred, only that one was reported. The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Investigators are still looking into the cause of the explosion, wh. For a while, though, flames shot 40 feet into the air. For decades, hydrofluoric acid was a standard chemical in oil refining, serving as a catalyst during a process known as alkylation. Torrance officials said there was no chemical release and a citywide shelter-in-place order is not necessary, but those near the site should keep windows closed. A blast was reported at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, California. Our Manhattan Beach office is physically closed at this time. TORRANCE (CBSLA) Firefighters say four people have been injured in a reported explosion at an apartment complex in Torrance. The blast caused serious property damage to the refinery and scattered catalyst dust up to a mile away from the facility into the nearby community. Had we known then what we know now, Cliff Heise said, we wouldve run, not walked home.. And so, the battle over MHFs future appears set to linger on with the Board of Supervisors call for a ban the latest volley. Investigators are trying to determine what caused the explosion at a Torrance oil refinery that sent four workers to the hospital. Thousands of people could have been harmed if the MHF had dispersed beyond the Torrance refinery in 2015, the CSB report said. Officials were investigating the cause of the over-pressurization. The explosion filled surrounding neighborhoods with ash, fiberglass, and glass wool. Anza Avenue had been closed for a few hoursas emergency personnel responded. Thick smoke rose from a mangled, multiple-story portion of the Torrance ExxonMobil Refinery, located south of the 405 Freeway, after the 8:50 a.m. blast. The crowd gathered at 10 a.m. at Columbia Park on 190th Street, cheering the remarks of Lieu, Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi and other speakers, before marching the short distance to the refinery. Another fire? The machines are responsible for reducing ammonia and particulate emissions in a plant to comply with environmental regulations. The incident was reported around 1:15 p.m. on the 23500 block of Anza Avenue, just north of the Pacific Coast Highway, Assistant Torrance Fire Chief Robert Millea said. Cliff and Donna Heise, for example, serve as secretary and treasurer of the TRAA, respectively. California workplace regulators fined ExxonMobil more than $500 million for the violations related to the explosion. Bontas office said it hadnt received a letter from the county. All the while, officials at those facilities have defended the chemicals use as safe. Copyright 2023 KABC Television, LLC. TORRANCE, Calif. -- An explosion rocked an Exxon Mobil refinery on Wednesday morning, triggering a huge smokestack flare, raining down ash and leaving four with minor injuries, company and. In 2004, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said much the same in an environmental analysis the agency did when Valero introduced MHF at its Wilmington refinery. U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu said in a statement Saturday that he plans to ask the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to include Saturdays incident as part of an ongoing investigation into the problems at the trouble-plagued refinery that began two years ago. By Nichola Groom TORRANCE, Calif. (Reuters) - An explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings, authorities said. The decision by the board came one week after the two refineries sent letters offering to install improved safety systems in the coming years if regulators ended their pursuit of new rules for the chemical. There was a "large fire explosion" at the ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery in Southern California on Wednesday morning, according to the Torrance Police Department. Liz Odendahl, Hahns spokeswoman, said in an interview that the supervisor was furious at the AQMDs decision to accept the refineries proffers. Redondo Beach Local News. It provides 362 jobs around $30 million in wages in Torrance, according to its website. All Rights Reserved. 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The cause of the accident was not immediately known, but it was believed to be caused by over pressurization in the plants electrostatic precipitators. As a result, unraveling the debates complexities remains challenging. The modified HF catalyst reduces acid vapor pressure sufficiently to suppress the usual flash atomization process of hydrofluoric acid, that environmental impact report said, causing most of the acid to fall to the ground as an easily controlled liquid and reduces the potential for off-site consequences of an accidental HF release.. explosion also launched an 80,000-pound piece of equipment, failure to follow safety guidelines was partly to blame for the blast. Residents touted the move, introduced by Supervisor Janice Hahn and timed to the anniversary, while PBF, in a statement, criticized the county boards vote. And Torrance receives about $7.5 million annually in utility user taxes from the refinerys operation. ExxonMobil said in a statement early Wednesday afternoon that "no harmful emissions have been detected.". In the past 5 years alone, our Plant Explosion Lawyers have Won over $1 Billion for workers who were seriously injured and burned in refinery and industrial accidents, represented workers in connection with every major plant and refinery explosion in recent history, and recovered record-setting verdicts and settlements against the largest oil and gas companies in the world, including ExxonMobil, Williams, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. The SCAQMD didnt comment on Hahns request for the organization to reexamine the viability of alternative technologies to MHF, some of which may be more commercially available than they were at the time of the vote. The cause of the explosion is under investigation. With the addition of these voluntary safety enhancements and other obligations completed and operating, we have fulfilled our obligation to further protect Refinery personnel and the community, Lafayette said. But in the years since the 2015 explosion, residents have continued decrying MHF. In its final report, the CSB describes multiple gaps in the refinerys process safety management system, allowing for the operation of the FCC unit without pre-established safe operating limits and criteria for a shut down. I cant believe they dont have the guts to stand up and say, This is wrong and MHF needs to be out of our community, she said. The refinery completed those improvements in 2020. 6 Min Read. May 3, 2017, Torrance, CA, -- Today, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its final report into the February 18, 2015, explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, California. ExxonMobil Refinery Explosion Injures Two, Rains Ash Upon Neighborhood - Redondo Beach, CA - The blast at the Torrance refinery could be seen for miles and caused 1.7 magnitude ground-shaking. The new campaign comes several months after air quality regulators killed a years-long push for stronger regulation of hydrofluoric acid at the two refineries.