11 injured as explosion rocks Wisconsin oil refinery, people evacuated

Updated 2018-04-27 09:39:05 Xinhua

A tank containing crude oil or asphalt exploded at a refinery in the U.S. state of Wisconsin on Thursday, injuring at least 11 people and forcing an evacuation of the area, according to local media.

Fire officials said the explosion broke out at 10:06 a.m. at the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, a city of about 27,000 that borders Minnesota to the north and the tip of Lake Superior.

There were no fatalities reported, but at least 11 people were injured. They were being treated at hospitals in Superior and nearby Duluth, Minnesota.

Five patients are being treated at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota, according to Essentia Health spokeswoman Maureen Talarico. Another five are being treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior. St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth is treating one person.

People within a one-mile radius and anyone within 10 miles to the south were being told to evacuate. The evacuation zone was expanded later Thursday to a three-mile radius.

The fire was initially out by 11:20 a.m., a little more than an hour after the blast. However, the fire later reignited and powerful winds pushed the flames south.

Husky Energy said in a statement that emergency crews are on site and all workers "have been accounted for."

According to local media, about 180 people work at the refinery, which dates back to the early 1950s. The refinery has a professing 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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